Is Christmas a celebration of Christ’s birth or is it a pagan celebration of materialism?  Does it confuse our children if we mix Santa with the true meaning of Christmas as a celebration of Christ’s birth?  Should we decorate or even exchange gifts? 

Although Jan and I did not struggle with most of these questions when our family was young I know some families do.  As a Christian family we did consider how to address the issue of Santa and the potential confusion it might cause our children in understanding that Jesus, who can’t be seen but is alive, is not the same as the imaginary Santa who can be seen in multiple malls and shopping centers but is not real. 

 We decided to allow our children to experience Santa.  We did not make it a big emphasis, threatening them with the thought that if they didn’t behave Santa wouldn’t come, or if they didn’t go to sleep Santa wouldn’t come, we just played along with their imagination while making the clear emphasis on Christ our Lord and Savior.  We participated in family events where Santa visited bringing gifts for the kids.  When our children asked about Santa we never lied to them.  When their questions became focused on the reality of Santa we told them the truth.  We felt this was important so that when we talked to them about a personal relationship with Jesus they would know that we always tell them the truth.

 What should you do about Christmas celebrating in your family?  My encouragement for you is to enjoy the festivities that surround the season while maintaining a clear focus on the reason for the season – the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior.  He is the reason, and the way, for peace on earth and good will for all men!

Published in: on December 25, 2007 at 6:03 pm  Leave a Comment  


Our family enjoys boating.  It has been a family activity that has provided enjoyment and a variety of experiences.  When you boat but don’t live on a lake the process of getting to the lake can be challenging; getting kids, coolers, towels, friends, food and last but least the boat to the lake has given us a list of exciting experiences and funny family stories.  After years of lake experiences and hundreds of boat launches and boat trailering my son Todd and I had an experience one day that pointed out a powerful parenting principle.

Todd is now in his thirties, married, with three children.  He is a wonderful husband, parent, and provider for his family.  We had gone to the lake and were preparing to launch the boat.  Launching the boat involves a a process that includes taking the tarp off, undoing the clips that keep the boat secured on the trailer, and making sure the drain plug is in before you back the boat into the water.  All this preparation had been made and we were ready to back the boat in the water.  Todd asked me if I wanted him to back the boat in and without thought I asked him if he thought he could do it.  It was an insult to his maturity and experience and he responded with, “are you kidding me?”  His reaction registered his insult and reflected my response as a father seeing him not as he is today, a mature responsible, man with experience but as he was many years ago an inexperienced son developing under my oversight.

One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to empower our children.  The process of empowerment begins when they are in their teens.  We empower them by giving them responsibilities and allowing them the possibility of failure.  Wise parenting provides for controlled failure as a part of their preparation and move into adult living.  It continues as we acknowledge their growth, experience, and maturity as adults.

Failure to empower our children in the stages of their development will leave them unprepared for adult living.  Failure to acknowledge our adult children’s maturity by recognizing their experience and accomplishments will leave them resentful and unfulfilled.

I realized my mistake with Todd that day and quickly apologized asking him to back the boat in while I drove it off the trailer and over to the dock.  Big or little items of response it doesn’t matter we must empower our children for them to develop into the mature and fulfilled adults that God intends them to be.

Published in: on December 15, 2007 at 12:59 am  Leave a Comment