All Souls' Day | JOY for Today
All Souls' Day traditions center around one answer to a big question: what happens after we die? Wrestling through this question and settling on an answer is a lifelong process for many of us. Yet, it is well worth the journey. For we believe that when you find the answer, you will see nothing but JOY in time to come.
All Souls' Day | November 2nd Annually
JOY for Today Offerings:
- Did You Know... Facts about All Souls' Day
- Wolfe Stew Connects To thoughts about the afterlife.
- Bible Verses and Quotes About souls.
- Activity Suggestions (*Due to the sensitive nature of this topic, we recommend these activities for families only.) Movie suggestions, discussion questions, and family challenge.
- Halloween (October 31st Annually)
- Veterans Day (November 11th Annually)
- World Kindness Day (November 13th Annually)
- A "soul" is defined as an immaterial aspect of a living being? What a soul encompasses, precisely, varies widely. Explanations of a soul include one's identity, animation, actuation, spirituality, completeness, essence, morality, personality, and memories. It is often considered responsible for emotion and sentiment. (Wikipedia & Merriam-Webster)
- What is believed to happen to our soul postmortem varies widely? Some beliefs include that our souls will be reborn, cease to exist, traverse various levels of heaven or hell, be rewarded based on deeds performed in life, experience heaven or hell eternally, all go to heaven, enter an alternate dimension or reality, or rejoin the universe. (Billy Graham & Pew Research)
- All Souls' Day has various names and traditions? Also referred to as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed and the Day of the Dead, Catholic traditions exist to aid those in purgatory by praying for their salvation, ringing bells to offer comfort, and gifting soul cakes to the poor to provide respite from their misery. For other denominations, all departed souls are honored on this day and are memorialized by remembering the resurrection of the body and the Communion of Saints, by sharing a meal together and by adorning graves. (Christianity.com)
- All Souls' Day is the third day in a series of Catholic observances? The three days together are termed Allhallowtide. All Hallow's Eve, or Halloween, is like Christmas Eve: a day to get ready for the upcoming celebrations. In preparation, participants might eat a vegetarian meal and attend a religious service. All Saints Day, or All Hallow's Day, serves to honor the church's martyrs. Traditions include asking for God's protection and blessings, dressing in costumes of good and evil to emulate the spiritual battle, and celebrating departed souls believed to be in heaven. The three-day celebration ends with All Souls' Day: a day to pray for those in purgatory - or who have not yet made it to heaven. (Christianity.com & "What's the difference")
- Dia de los Muertos and All Souls' Day have a shared history? While their origins differ - Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday with origins in Aztec and Nahua beliefs while All Souls' Day is a European holiday with origins in paganism and Catholicism - there is a lot of overlap between the two. Historically, Spaniards served pan de animas (bread) with wine - reminiscent of communion - at burial sites and went "souling" to distribute bread to the poor. In Mexico, Pan de Muertos holds a prominent place on ofrendas, or offerings to the departed. In Spain, flowers and candles lit paths for welcoming the departed home for the night, and now Mexico builds ofrendas and prepares favorite foods to welcome them home. Dia de los Muertos was originally celebrated in August and was more about supporting the soul in its journey to reach its final resting place - which now is the focus of All Souls Day: to pray for the deceased in purgatory. (History.com, U.S. Catholic, & Mexico in my Kitchen)
We'd Love to Know:
Which soul's day fact will stick with you?
Thoughts of the afterlife and souls in general are sensitive topics. We want to believe our soul continues, that our loved ones' lives are not over once their hearts stop beating. Or we want to believe that this life is all there is, and we seek to make the most of it while our hearts still beat. All views on the afterlife help us to navigate life and death.
Standing on a firm foundation of Christian beliefs, many of these questions about life, death, and the afterlife are already answered for me. What comforts me is that my soul is already and has always been claimed (Ezekiel 18:4). My soul is God's breath (Genesis 2:7) which proclaims, "You are mine" (Isaiah 43:1). I am spoken for; that is all I need to know.
- Wrestle with your thoughts on souls and the afterlife. Why do you believe what you believe? How does it comfort you? What still confuses you about it? Research it. Pray about it. Rest in God's arms knowing you do not need to have all the answers because He does.
- Consider joining us in our Proverbs 31 study. Last week, we made strength and honor our wardrobe and were reminded that we have a future full of rejoicing. Next week, we will wrap up the strength virtue and begin to rehearse being well-spoken.
- "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Genesis 2:7 KJV
- "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Ezekiel 18:4 KJV
- "After all, what will it benefit a person if he gains the whole world, but forfeits his soul? Or what can a person give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:26 EHV
- "And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Matthew 10:28 NASB
- "The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul." Psalm 121:7 KJV
- "You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body." - C. S. Lewis
- "False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil." - Socrates
- "The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind." - Caroline Myss
- "I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him." - Booker T. Washington
- "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies." - Aristotle
We'd Love to Know:
Watch a Movie and Discuss
Before watching, consider asking what they believe will happen after we die. Tell them the movie they are about to watch presents an idea of what could happen. Afterward, compare their thoughts about the afterlife to the idea presented in the movie.
- "Dia de los Muertos" Mexico. YouTube short film.
- Coco. Mexico's "Day of the Dead". Ancestors, music, "Land of the Dead".
- Casper. Maine, USA. Ghosts and continued choice in the afterlife.
- Phantom Boy. French. Chronic illness & traveling in a spirit realm.
- Soul. New York, USA. Refers to the "Great Beyond" and "the world of the living", between Earth and the afterlife.
- Spirited Away. Japanese. A world between living and dead.
- All Dogs Go To Heaven. USA. Heaven and hell, animals in the afterlife, and finality of death.
- Heaven is For Real. USA. Based on the book. Near-death experience, child illness, reality of heaven, and Christian beliefs and culture.
Discuss "Would You Rather..." Questions
- Talk about the afterlife or ways to institute world peace?
- Be given an infinite supply of money or be given the answers to everything?
- Spend one more day with someone who has died or commit to honoring that person daily?
These questions are unique to this post. If you would like three "Would You Rather...?" questions for every November day, download this Wolfe Stew PowerPoint or get it (for free!) at our TPT store.
Take on the Family Challenge
Discuss personal beliefs on the afterlife. For a deeper more open-minded discussion, encourage members to write out, or deeply consider, their thoughts independently first. Then, share thoughts without responding. Write down questions or comments as each person shares. After a week of considering the varying perspectives, return to the conversation. What did you learn from each other? What needs to be clarified? What are you still thinking about?
We'd Love to Know:
If you honor All Souls Day.
We’re excited to share one more day with you and wish you JOY for Today and HOPE for Tomorrow.
Your Partners in JOY Finding,
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Find even more JOY for Today in our monthly calendars, holiday, and seasonal posts.