Christmas, Mailbag, Parenting

The Mailbag: What should we tell our kids about Santa Claus?

‘Tis the season for Christmas-themed Mailbag questions! Got a question about something related to Christmas? Leave a comment below or e-mail me.

Originally published December 4, 2017

As Christian parents, is it OK for us to tell our children about Santa Claus?

Christmastime can be so much fun when you have children. Many of us remember the excitement of Santa, the Christmas tree, and presents from our own childhood. They’re happy memories, and we want to recreate those for our children.

But as Christian parents, our first priority isn’t fun, it’s obedience to Scripture. Yet is there a way to make Christmas merry for our children while still upholding God’s Word? Is Santa patently unbiblical?

No, he doesn’t have to be, as long as he keeps his sleigh parked inside the parameters of Scripture. Let’s take a look at some of the ways Santa can be unscripturally naughty, and how godly parents can keep him nice and biblical.

Santa Claus isn’t real. If you tell your children he is, or that he is the one who brings their presents, or that he knows whether they’ve been naughty or nice, you’re lying. The Bible says that lying is a sin, period. There’s no exception for jolly old elves who pass out toys (or for tooth fairies or Easter bunnies, either, for that matter). And not only is lying a sin, it is extraordinarily hypocritical to lie to your children about Santa Claus and then turn around later and punish them when they lie about something. Lying to your children about Santa Claus teaches them that it’s OK to lie (i.e. sin) when you want to or when it would be to your advantage.

Don’t lie to your children about Santa Claus. Tell them the truth: he’s a fun, fictional character that we can enjoy reading stories and singing songs about, just like Goldilocks or Superman or Old MacDonald. As for the presents, maybe you’d like to handle it similarly to the way my husband and I did with our children. When they were very small, my husband or I would don a Santa hat on Christmas Eve and say something like: “You know how you like to play pretend? Well, mommies and daddies like to play pretend, too, especially at Christmas! Now it’s time for you to go to bed so we can pretend to be Santa Claus.”

Santa Claus isn’t omniscient. 

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good, for goodness’ sake!¹

Uh uh. No way. Omniscience is an incommunicable attribute of God. He is the only One who has the power to see and know all things, and it is an insult and an affront to Him to even suggest that a mere mortal – let alone a fictional character – has the same power and knowledge that He has. In reverence and awe for God’s preeminence, we should never ascribe to others the things that belong to God alone.

Teach your children about the attributes of God. When you read your children stories about Santa Claus or hear Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town on the radio, it’s a perfect opportunity to teach them about God’s omniscience and power. “Did y’all just hear that? That song said Santa Claus can see you and knows how you’re behaving. Is that true? Who is the only One who always sees you, cares for you, and knows what you’re doing and thinking? Can anybody else besides God do that?”

Santa Claus teaches works righteousness. In St. Nick’s economy, good behavior earns a reward (presents). Bad behavior earns punishment (coal). If you’ve ever shared the gospel with anybody, that will probably sound familiar. Most lost people think that’s what Christianity is. If you’re a “good person” God is happy with you and you’ll go to Heaven. Hell is the punishment for “bad people”: Hitler, murderers, and rapists. This is not what the Bible teaches, either about salvation, or about why children should obey their parents.

Teach your children the gospel. Again, this whole “naughty or nice” part of the Santa Claus narrative is a perfect gospel-teaching opportunity. Take advantage of it! Ask your child to be “nice” for one whole day. At bed time, take a few minutes to talk about the times she messed up and was “naughty” when she was supposed to be trying to be “nice.” Nobody can be nice and obedient all the time, no matter how hard we try. We are all naughty, coal black sinners deserving the punishment of Hell. Jesus came and lived a life of perfect “niceness” (obedience) died on the cross to take the punishment for our naughtiness, was buried, and rose again. He did that, not because we earned it with good behavior, but because of His mercy and grace. And then He gave us the greatest gift ever. A gift we naughty people don’t deserve: salvation and eternal life in Heaven. And it is because of our love and gratitude to Christ for saving us that we obey Him, not so that He will give us what we want. Indeed, the Bible tells us that the more obedient to Christ we are, the more persecution we will face.

Santa Claus doesn’t automatically have to be on the Christian parent’s naughty list. There are lots of ways to enjoy the fun of Santa and even turn him into an opportunity to teach your child biblical truth, all while being obedient to Scripture. But if Santa makes you biblically uncomfortable in some way, then by all means, don’t go against your conscience. Whichever way you decide – after prayer, study of the Scriptures, and discussing it with your spouse – do not judge other Christian parents by your personal convictions about Santa Claus. And have a Merry Christmas!

¹Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town. John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie, 1934.

If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Discernment with Michelle Lesley Conference

I had a great time of fellowship and teaching recently with the ladies of Cornerstone Church of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Teton Valley Bible Church, of Driggs, Idaho, and their guests from the surrounding area. These sister churches, across the border and across the mountains from each other, come together each year to host a conference to build up the women of their churches and to reach out to the women of their communities. This year, the theme was discernment.

I taught on discernment in four different areas of our walk with the Lord: the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, living by Scripture instead of our emotions, false doctrine and false teachers, and women’s roles in the home and church. And we had a fun Q&A session over lunch, too!

Click here to listen to the conference audio!

I also had the privilege of recommending a few books for the book table. It was my pleasure to recommend to them (and to you!) God, Greed, and the Prosperity Gospel by Costi Hinn, Deceived No More by Doreen Virtue, and You’re Not Enough and That’s OK by Allie Beth Stuckey.

I had never been to Wyoming or Idaho before this trip. They are both so beautiful! I took about a million pictures, but I tried to pare it down for this article. (You can click on most of the pictures to enlarge them.)

Jackson Hole has several of these charming elk antler arches. When you get off the plane, you walk through one to get into the airport, and there’s one at each corner of the town square.

The hotel I stayed at in Jackson Hole had these adorable little critters everywhere!

When we crossed over the mountains into Driggs, I got to stay in this cozy little resort cabin. Too cute! It snowed the morning I flew out.

During some down time prior to the conference, one of the lovely sisters from Cornerstone graciously took time out of her schedule to drive me around to see the sights.

Here’s the National Elk Refuge. You can hardly see them, but there are swans and ducks in that little pond. We didn’t see any elk that day, but I did get to see some alongside the road another day.

There’s a significant Mormon population around Jackson Hole. Near the turn of the 19th century, the area pictured below was a community of 33 homesteads surrounding a “church” and a school. These are a few of the buildings still standing from that era, with the Grand Tetons in the background.

The Grand Tetons, and boy are they grand! A camera just can’t capture the beauty of God’s creation like the human eye can, but I tried. :0) (I did not add any filters. The sky is really just that radiant and gorgeous.)

These were taken at the area where Ansel Adams took his famous photo Tetons and the Snake River. Maybe the trees weren’t quite as tall back in 1942. :0)

After a fantastic morning of sightseeing, we headed back toward the town square for lunch where, as is my custom, I sampled a bit of the local fare. The restaurant that served elk burgers was closed, but we found the next best thing – a bison burger, which was delectable and has now spoiled me forever for regular hamburger.

I was enchanted by the rustic, “log cabin in the mountains” facade design of many of the buildings in Jackson Hole, even their Albertson’s and Target! I’m told the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is “famous” and that they have saddles for bar stools.

Many, many thanks to the conference organizers and pastors of Cornerstone and TVBC for treating me like a queen and making a work trip seem more like a vacation. It was such a pleasure fellowshipping with them and with the ladies who attended the conference. If you’re ever in the Jackson Hole or Driggs area, and need a good church to join or visit, I can’t recommend these two churches highly enough.


If your church or organization is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.


Photo Credits

Photo of Michelle speaking by Anika (conference organizer)

All other photos by Michelle Lesley

Christmas, Holidays (Other)

Holy Holidays: 101 Christian-Owned Businesses to Support while You Christmas Shop

It’s (almost) Black Friday! Time to shop til you drop…into your favorite comfy chair, fire up ye olde internet, and check out the deals at these businesses owned by some of your brothers and sisters in Christ.

There’s nothing wrong with shopping at a big box store that’s advertising great deals  or supporting the mom and pop shop down the street, but if you see something you like for a good price at one of these online stores, why not throw a little business to family? Galatians 6:10 says:

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

See an opportunity? Grab it and do good to someone in the household of faith – especially this year when businesses can use all the help they can get.

All the disclaimers:

🎄 Here’s how this list came about: Every year, I put out a general call on social media and the blog asking people to recommend Christian-owned businesses for this article. Well, you know how things on social media get shared around to a friend of a friend and aunt Myrtle’s third cousin’s step-nephew’s veterinarian. So what I’m saying is, while the people who recommended or own these businesses say that these are Christian-owned businesses, I can’t vouch for the actual, day to day spiritual state of any of the recommenders or owners. I’ve checked out each web site as best I can to make sure none of them promote anything unbiblical (giving the benefit of the doubt when possible – these are gifts, for not sermons), but I can’t tell you whether or not Stan of “Stan’s Snow Shovels” is a faithful member of his local church.

•If the theology of the business owner is extremely important to you, I urge you to contact him/her directly to inquire before making your purchase.

•I would strongly encourage you to thoroughly vet the theology of any Christian author or musician listed below whose book, music, or other materials you’re considering purchasing.

🎄 These are Christian-owned businesses, but the products they make are not all necessarily “Christian” (i.e. they don’t all have Bible verses or Christian sayings on them).

🎄 Take the category listings below loosely. If you’re looking for something specific, take a look at as many of these businesses as you can, because most of them carry more than one type of product (ex: jewelry and wall art, apparel and home decor). I’ve tried to categorize them according to the main product type they sell, but many are quite eclectic. You might find the coffee mug you’re looking for under the “apparel” category.

🎄 Several of these businesses are carried over from last year’s article. A few of them seem as though they may have taken a hiatus (i.e. no social media posts for months). Check with the owner to make sure she’s still in business, and if you find out that she’s definitely not, please let me know so I can remove the business.

🎄 Some of these businesses are based outside the U.S. Be aware of this with regard to shipping costs, time, etc. when ordering.

Apparel

A Faith Creation

Bates Sisters Boutique

Cordoba Leather

Epiphany Boutique

Hadley’s Crafts

Babies/Kids/Maternity/Nursing

A Great Baby

Miranda Williams Custom Gowns

Prairie Sweater Co.

Threadlynn

Art/Art Items

Dapper and Darling

Hope Ink

Mariah Hatfield

Parvis Florum

Rebecca Lynne Kinane

Bags & Accessories

Go Forth Goods

GW Tactical

Knightly Krafts

Lila’s Laundry

Tatted Lace by Hannah Grace

Books

Untold Secrets of Planet Earth

Christian Books, Apparel, & Gifts

(See “Music and Audio” category for Christian music and audio.)

Edibles, Cooking, and Nutrition

Five Lakes Coffee

Reformed Roasters

Simply Nourishing

Electronics

Just Audio

Housewares, Home/Holiday Decor

Beaded by Rae

Chapter and Verse Studios

Copperhead Creek Studio

Created For His Glory

C. Schreier Designs

Eight22 Crafts

HannerBea

Prairie Homegoods

Table Decor and More

Tea & Honey Designs

Handlettered Truth

Rustic Log Workshop

Stitched by Nats

The Little French Market

Jewelry & Jeweled Accessories

Be Blessed Endeavours

Blessed Hope Nepal

The Dream Corner Shop

Girl Ran Away

Pretty Little Bouquets

Sweet Lemon Art

Tabitha Artisans

Kitchen

Gum Creek Boards

Music & Audio

(*=NOT Christian music/audio)

2GBG Music

Jonathan Park Audio Adventures

Laura Saeler

Leah*

Majesty Music

Seeds Family Worship

The Corner Room

The Victory Trio

Paper, Cards, & Stationery

Butterflyers

ROC Paper Scissors

Personal Products & Services

Blossom’s Barn

Horse Creek Soap Co.

Reformed Skin Care

Zambeezi

Pets

Daisy’s Barking Bandana

Toys, Kids/Baby Items

Fiddle & Frolic Co.

His Kids Company

Little Bears Crochet Den

SewBlessedFarm

🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

Miscellaneous Christian
Christmas Shopping Resources

🎄 Check the comments section of this article to see if my readers have posted any new suggestions.

🎄 Can’t find what you need here? Amazon has a great program called Amazon Smile. It allows you to designate a charity that will receive a percentage of every purchase you make. There are scads of Christian organizations to choose from: churches (maybe even yours!), ministries, missions organizations, pro-life organizations, and others.

🎄 Want to explore more Christian businesses? Try the Christian Business Referral Network for a wide variety of products and services.


What’s your favorite Christian-owned
online business for Christmas gifts?

Comment below (please include the business’ website)
and maybe it will be included on next year’s list.

(No multi-level marketing or personal sales businesses
– ex: Pampered Chef, essential oils, Tupperware – please.)

Holidays (Other), Thanks/Thanksgiving

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart

 Originally published November 26, 2008grateful

O give thanks to the LORD,
for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
1 Chronicles 16:34

Thanksgiving is upon us. It’s my favorite holiday. I get “time off” from my job (although as a stay at home mom, my “time off” looks a lot like my “time on”!); I get to visit with family; there’s no mad rush of gift shopping; and, the whole holiday is centered around eating. What could be better?

There’s only one thing I don’t look forward to about the holiday I love best. I’m not happy with the way Christmas has begun to overshadow Thanksgiving. The radio stations started playing Christmas carols before Halloween. The stores put out Christmas decorations earlier and earlier every year. The commercials for Christmas gifts and sales have been prolific since October. You almost get a sense that, aside from the good people at Butterball, retailers consider Thanksgiving to be in the way. They know that Thanksgiving is the “Gentlemen, start your engines!” rallying point for most shoppers, and without it, they could probably push Black Friday back to September and combine it with their Labor Day sales.

But more than my own personal annoyance and my desire to gather up all the retail CEOs and the media in one place and shout at them, “Nobody puts Thanksgiving in a corner!” I’m concerned for all of us as a national community. With everything that’s going on in our country and the world right now, do we really need to skip over being thankful?

We Americans are so blessed we’ve become numb and ungrateful. What a slap in the face to people all over the world for whom simply surviving another day is an almost insurmountable task. How often do we have to worry about having water to drink that’s clean enough not to make us sick? How many of us are starving to death because we have no access to food? How often do we have warring factions marching through our front yards? When was the last time we secretly huddled together to worship, afraid that at any moment we could be arrested, tortured, killed?

In the mad rush of all that is going on in our day to day lives, maybe it’s not such a bad idea to slow down and give Thanksgiving its due.

 
Thank you, Lord…
 …that I can see, hear, move, think clearly, and attend to my own needs.
 …that I live in a country that protects my freedoms.
 …for the family with which You’ve blessed me.
 …for the roof over my head.
 …for enough to eat.

 …for saving me.

 
Don’t skip Thanksgiving this year. Don’t push it over in a corner and treat it as though it’s an interruption of your Christmas plans. Relish it. Wallow in it. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
Holidays (Other), Thanks/Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

For those of us in the United States, today is Thanksgiving Day. I hope you all have a lovely day with family and friends giving thanks to God for all of the ways He has blessed you.

I’ve got a great list of Christian-owned online businesses coming your way this evening (5 p.m. Central) as we begin Christmas shopping in earnest, so be sure to check in here at the blog before you start making your Black Friday purchases.

Happy Thanksgiving!