Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at roger@preachitteachit.org.

Dear Reader,

Three years ago I received the following question concerning Santa’s Naughty List from a six-year-old at Christmas time.

I didn’t give a very good answer as evidenced by some of the comments that I received the following week. After you read my answer take time to read several of the comments that I received the following week. I’ve copied them below. I think that you will be intrigued and enlightened.

Dear Roger,

My six year old son, William, had a question tonight to ask you: "If you have Jesus in your heart can you still get on Santa's Naughty List?" His mind was really working on this after watching the Tim Allen "Santa Clause" movie.

Dear William,

I love Tim Allen’s Christmas movie. But, of course, the Bible tells us the truth and so we look there for the answer to your question. Can a Christian be on Santa’s naughty list? Certainly! When we become Christians all of our sins are forgiven—but this does not mean that we stop sinning. Some Christians do very naughty things and belong on His list. Their sins are still forgiven and by God’s grace they will go to Heaven. When they confess their sins and apologize to God for the naughty things they did, they are put back on the “good” list.

The best way to stay on Santa’s good list is to follow and obey the voice of Jesus and do what He says. In Ephesians 5:18 Paul told us to be “filled with the Holy Spirit.” This means that we listen carefully when God tells us what is right or wrong. It also means that we ask God to show us what to do. It also means that we think of what Jesus would do and do that.

Have a merry Christmas! Stay off the naughty list and on the good list and you’ll have a great life.

Love, Roger

The Comments:

  • If you're under 11 please don't read this!
  • Umm, isn't it kind of... sinning to tell children that there is a Santa watching them 24/7 who will come down there chimney using MAGIC and leave them gifts?
  • Why not tell your children about the three wise men who brought gifts to Jesus, and about how the REAL St. Nick brought gifts to boys and girls, who is probably (I'm not God, I don't know) in heaven with Angels right now? And that in the spirit of CHRISTmas we give each other gifts?
  • I don't mean to start an argument here, but "Santa" IS a lie. A "white lie" but a lie. The Bible clearly states that lying is a sin, and that there is a special place in hell for liars. The Bible also tells us to stay away from witchcraft, like the kind it would take to make reindeer fly...
  • I'm only 17 so this is just a stupid opinion here. But why lie on the day we celebrate Christ's BIRTH? I personally would not to that. Too afraid of lightning.

Comment from Roger: Frankly, I grew up with Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Halloween. I loved them all. So many wonderful experiences and memories!

Mike Everett was the one who told me that there was no such thing as Santa Clause. I was heartbroken. My mom was mad at Mike for the rest of the year. It took me about two hours to get over it. After all, the toys, chocolate bunnies, quarters and candy would still be forthcoming.