All Saints Day

We've made three batches of cupcakes in my household in the last five days. What's all the fuss? We celebrated my husband's birthday (who declares he's now counting backwards) with carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing, we tried a recipe for cookies and cream cheesecake cupcakes from a new cookbook and we couldn't resist the seasonal cupcake mix in the grocery store with the cute sprinkles for the cake batter and icing. 
All this sweetness has made me think of the upcoming All Saints Day celebration. According to some sources, the idea for All Saints' Day goes back to the fourth century when the Greek Christians kept a festival on the first Sunday after Pentecost in honor of all martyrs and saints. Other sources say that a commemoration of “All Martyrs” began to be celebrated as early as 270 CE. Pope Gregory IV made All Saints' Day an authorized holiday in 837 CE. It is speculated that the chosen date for the event, November 1, may have been an attempt to supplant the pagan Festival of the Dead. 

Putting the history of this day aside for a moment today we can focus on the fact that God declares everyone who has been baptized and believes the promise of the gospel to be justified, holy, and blameless.  The communion of saints therefore includes both those still living on earth and those who have died in the faith and are now living in heaven. Therefore, All Saints' Day is a very special festival, one that should enrich the worship lives of all who observe it. It is a day to recall the faithful men and women of both Testaments of the Bible and praise God for their examples. However, we also remember the saints of the less distant past.  Many congregations memorialize those parishioners who were called to be with the Lord in the past year. Finally, on this day we can glorify God not just for the faithfulness of the saints, but most of all for His faithfulness to the saints.

Signs and symbols that are traditionally used for All Saints Day include, ringing of bells, signing hymns about the saints (like For All the Saints), children dressing in costume of a favorite saint and lighting candles. This year I'm thinking of a special dinner to celebrate all the past and present saints that have touched my life....a great exercise to help my family focus on the attributes we admire and would like to personally strive for. I think this also may be an excuse to try another cupcake recipe out of my new cookbook! Sweet!