Q&A – Seasonal Quandaries

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I’ve had several moms this year ask about how we celebrate Christmas at the Colley house, whether or not I believe it is lying to pretend about Santa, or if I think the whole celebration of Christmas (at all) is wrong. (Is it celebrating a Biblically unauthorized holiday…or, on the other hand, is it wrong because of the pagan origins of some of its elements?)  Because of this, I’m going to re-run a couple of posts that appeared last year. You will find them below.

One disclaimer: Of course you know that the Colleys don’t get it right every time. My opinion is just that about this. I believe this matter is within the realm of judgment and is an excellent opportunity for us to show deference to one another in the body. In our case, there were times when our family did not put up lights outside our house, because we had a brother who would be offended by our public celebration. There were other times when I went to the kids’ piano teacher and explained that our kids had rather play “Deck the Halls” in the recital than “O Come All Ye Faithful” because we did not celebrate the holiday in a religious sense. This provided a great time for discussion about the scriptures in a loving atmosphere. In fact, the teacher’s family (non-Christians) had us over for a meal during the holidays and we reciprocated. There are things about the myths associated with the holiday that Glenn and I believe to be very wholesome and good for young children, but I respect the choices of those who find the myths objectionable. It’s okay if you don’t celebrate because of the pagan origins of some of the season’s traditions. But I believe that there are many, many things in our society (the way we celebrate birthdays, the names of the months, etc…) that are pagan in origin, yet not wrong in their use today.

So, for what it’s worth, read on. May you be blessed during this giving time of year with opportunities to reach others with the best Gift of all.

I wanted to ask your opinion on something. Christmas is coming, and I want to make believe with Lorelei about Santa Claus. However, I’ve had some people tell me that they didn’t because it is all a big lie. Did you do Santa with your kids when they were younger? My family did but I never saw it as a lie. I just wasn’t sure how I should go about doing it without making it a lie. I have a big imagination myself, and figured that Lorelei would probably have one herself soon. However, I do not want to ever lie to my new daughter : )
I hope you’re all doing well and had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Take care!

~ Kayla

Dear Kayla,

We did, we still do and we will always believe in Santa! It’s one of the healthiest, most fun family traditions we have. My kids have never, ever viewed this as a lie. They are very grateful that I let them believe in this good fantasy. You should really talk to Caleb if you want to know all the ways he thinks this has been helpful to him. He’s actually done a lot of reflecting on this very subject. I read my children all sorts of fantastic, moral-building stories like Cinderella, Snow White, Pete’s Dragon, etc. But I never felt like I had to stop in the middle of the story and say, “But I want you to know that the fairy godmother is just something someone made up and this pumpkin will never be anything but a pumpkin.” I just think it is a creativity stifler if I have to stop and always explain the difference between reality and the amazing innocent world of “pretend.” What if every time my daughter was playing house, I felt the need to stop and say, “This is not really real because you don’t have a husband and this doll is just a bunch of plastic and stuffing, and you’re not really paying any bills”? Well, I’m taking it to the extreme, but, while I respect the view of parents who have a conscience problem with  pretending this way, I personally think we can let our kids believe without inflicting any harm and without lying.

I should say this is less a defense of Santa and more a plea for parents to be very cautious about accusing other parents of lying. I believe this holiday decision about fantasy should be viewed as one that is within the realm of parental judgment and the judgment calls should be respected.


I have a quick question for you, if you have the time to answer. I have come to realize that I have more than a few Christian friends who celebrate Christmas in a religious way. I have always gathered that it is a sinful thing to do. My reasoning comes from two places; the fact that we have no instruction to celebrate such a day and also the fact that we are not to add to the instructions that have been given to us. My question: Is my thinking valid, or do i need to do more study on this subject?
Dear Concerned,
Well, I think we should use every opportunity all year long to talk about Christ. If people are thinking about him more– people of the world, that is, then I think it’s a good thing to join in that conversation and talk to them about the gospel. I celebrate the birth, death and resurrection all year long. I celebrate the death and resurrection in a very specific way around the Lord’s table every Sunday. I’m daily aware of my hopeless condition without the incarnation of Christ and for that manger scene I am daily and profoundly thankful. But God didn’t tell us the date of Christ’s birth. He didn’t command us to celebrate it as part of our worship or religion. Thus, to make a religious holiday of or prescribe spiritual rituals for Christmas, I believe is invalid and wrong. Such would be an addition to the perfect religion prescribed in the New Testament (Matthew 15:9).

Now, having said all of that, let me add that I do think that whether we celebrate Christmas as a national and family holiday is a matter of judgment. Some Christians do not celebrate it at all. That is their prerogative and I respect that choice. Some families, including mine, love to celebrate this fun time of year outside of the context of religion. This doesn’t mean we stop thinking or talking about the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ during the holidays. We could never do that. It merely means that we ascribe no special religious significance to the Christmas season. We celebrate these, the most amazing blessings imaginable to mankind every moment of every day of every year of our lives!

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