Every year on Halloween, I recall a conversation from my seminary days that took place during a New Testament class. With Halloween just a few days away, one of my classmates asked our professor a personal question: Do you allow your children to celebrate Halloween? I wasn’t sure why this young man posed the question. Was he personally opposed to the celebration of Halloween or did he suspect that our professor might believe that a faithful Christian shouldn’t observe a pagan holiday? We all leaned forward in our seats as we awaited the professor’s answer.
“Of course.” the professor responded. “My children will wear costumes and go trick-or-treating in our neighborhood on Halloween.” Seeing a teachable moment, he then offered an explanation rooted in Scripture. Pointing to the Apostle Paul’s words to the Christians in Rome, our professor reminded us that no evil powers can separate us from God’s love. Not even death can sever those bonds. Participating in Halloween, he explained, was a way to playfully mock the powers of darkness, to remind ourselves that God’s powerful love reigns supreme.
Tonight when I see my 2-year-old grandson wearing his skeleton sweatsuit, I will laugh and remember that although there are many scary things in the world, none of them can separate him from God’s love.
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? . . . No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35, 37-39)