By Beth Groh

Saint Peter

A little-known church holiday gets lost in the hubbub over Halloween—All Saints’ Day.

Maybe it’s because many churches don’t follow the traditional liturgical church year.

Or maybe it’s because we might get a little confused—what’s a “saint” anyway? And why should I care?

That’s understandable.

But skipping over this day of remembrance may rob you and your family of an excellent opportunity to explore our Christian heritage—and that’s a real shame if we’re wanting to foster a biblical worldview in the hearts and minds of our children, grandchildren or other young people we love.

First, let’s grab our Bibles and figure out what makes someone a “saint.” Is it only a believer with a “Big League” name, like Mary, Peter, Paul, Thomas or Matthew? Or all believers?

Well, those “big” names appear long after the Old Testament was written. Thumb through Psalms and you’ll find one particularly vivid reference to saints in Psalm 116: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (verse 15)

That paints a picture of how our Lord rejoices when His beloved believers return home to Him—images echoed in the New Testament, particular in Romans and Ephesians.

So for our purposes today, let’s agree “believers”—all those who have been welcomed into their Savior’s eternal rest.

What does that mean to my family in 2011?

Well, why not use All Saints’ Day as a time to talk about the everyday saints in your own family—or others whose faith walk has been influential?

Our family’s story of saints would include Zine, the nickname for my great-grandmother who clung to God’s Word via cassette tapes long after her eyes dimmed as she neared 100…or Pap-Paw, whose child-like faith kept his heart always open to the needs of others…or Grandad, who revered sound doctrine and held fast to a belief of God’s inerrant Word…or Ging-Gi, who continued her faithful witness until her dying day…or Mom Renshaw, whose Lord instilled a heart of compassion for the aged and infirm.

Our children are blessed with a rich Christian heritage on my husband’s side, too…the hearty and direct descendents of religious immigrants from the Saxon region of Germany, who risked their all to carve out a free place of worship and study in the then harsh Missouri backwoods.

What are the stories in your family? Or, if this generation is called as the first to faith, what can you learn from other brothers and sisters in Christ who influenced those in your church? Who are the everyday, unsung heroes who “finished the race?”

And ask yourself this…who am I called to be?

What will my legacy be when someday I am called home?

Will someone one day think of me if they sing that old classic hymn, “For All the Saints?” Will I be one who was faithful, true and bold?

“Oh, may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.”

by William W. How, 1823-1897

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