The Feast of All Saints

Happy All Saints to you!  This is one of my favorite Church feasts, though not one I celebrated until recently.

I love all sorts of things about All Saints’ Day.  I love that Halloween (my least favorite “holiday”) is past and people are going to take the skeletons and tombstones  out of their lawns.  I love remembering the cloud of witnesses who have gone before.  I love to celebrate the fellowship of the saints we have with us today.

All Saints is Moriah’s baptism anniversary, so we always have a little party.

There is just a month left in the Church year.  Still time to finish strong.  This final month is all about finishing: appreciating the fellowship of believers across centuries, realizing the abundance of blessings God has given us at Thanksgiving, and celebrating Christ the King and his eternal Kingdom.

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Wondering how to finish strong when the stores have already pulled out their Christmas decorations and shopping countdowns are posted everywhere you look?  I have a few suggestions:

For All Saints’ Day: take time today to celebrate a loved one who has died. That might mean pulling out your grandmother’s tea pot, or resurrecting your aunt’s recipe for cornbread or pierogies.  Reading your grandfather’s favorite verse. Watching your dad’s favorite movie.  For us it will mean planting bulbs in the garden in honor of my friend Jerry who died last spring. They will come up in the spring and remind us of his vibrant, abundant life.
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We’re singing my favorite hymn tomorrow in church: For All the Saints.

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,

who thee by faith before the world confessed,

thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

There was a time during medical school and residency when I was so tired I used to weep at those words– I was so jealous of their rest– but now I can sing joy and an appropriate sense of longing.

For Thanksgiving:

Set the tone for a month gratitude by starting to count your blessings now.  Wrap a shoebox in paper, cut a hole in the lid, and encourage your family to write down or draw a blessing they are thankful for from the year. On Thanksgiving, open the box and read them aloud.

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For Christ the King Sunday:

C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle is a great read-aloud for this month leading up to this Sunday.

Likewise, bringing the Kingdom in daily ways– serving our neighbors, a canned or coat food drive– are ways to honor the Kingship of Christ.

In honor of All Saints’ Day, Let Us Keep the Feast: The Complete Year is being released today. That link is to the paperback, but it’s also available as an ebook or pdf through Doulos Resources or Amazon. It’s full of resources for a celebration of the church year and ways to see God in your daily walk.  (Jessica is hosting a giveaway of the book here!)

If you have a special way you celebrate the saints in your life, please share in the comments.

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