Just go ahead and expect that your adult kids won’t be home for Christmas!
Indeed, family is synonymous with Christmas. For all these years, our family of four relished in the traditions and joys of Christmas. Whether it was putting up the Christmas tree and eating Little Debbie Christmas tree cakes after Tannenbaum was decorated or baking cookies or eating certain foods on Christmas Eve and then presenting our gifts the “C” way or playing games, Christmas has been and continues to be family.
Eventually though, in the normal course of life, our children leave home. They usually get married and then have a family. Now it’s time for this new family unit (h/w or family) to begin their own traditions. It is not fair to them or healthy for their relationship to expect them to come home for the holidays. Why?
1. They have left home and are to cleave to one another, not mom and dad (Genesis 2:24; Mark 10:7). You trained them to do so, therefore, let ’em go.
2. They need to begin their own traditions and have their own family vacations just like most of us did. Those are invaluable times for discipleship and training in righteousness on their part.
3. If Christ is your life (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3-4), then Christmas is all about Him and not the fulfillment of our expectations.
4. We want our children to live in the will of God. Therefore, is it God’s will for them to come home this year (Psalm 86:11; James 4:15)? One of the greatest joys of parenting is watching our children walk in truth in obedience to the Lord, and then, to cheer them on in doing so by your prayers and encouraging words!
When you consider the reason and meaning of Christmas, family is not the central focal point of the holidays. Neither are programs, presents, decorations, parades, etc. The preeminent place of Christmas belongs to the Theme of Christmas, the Lord Jesus Christ.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
“All the Christmas presents in the world are worth nothing without the presence of Christ.” -David Jeremiah
In spite of the sentiment found in the holiday song, “I’ll be home for Christmas,” please don’t put unexpected pressure on your adult kids. Celebrate Christ with or without family! Christ, Who is Christmas, is always there (Hebrews 13:6)!!
6 thoughts on “Parents, Just Go Ahead and Do It! | Releasing Adult Children From Holiday Expectations”
Thank you for giving us this gift! ❤
My parents and my in-laws never put guilt on my husband and I to be there at holidays (we lived hours away from both sets). We always say we think this one part of what gave us a good marriage; no running to mom and dad if there were any troubles and we had to establish our own traditions, too. We did take turns with the holidays but once we had our son we stayed put and would see our parents around the holiday. Good advice here, Pastor. You may step on a few toes, but I believe what you wrote is true.
Hey Carrie! Thanks for reading and for your encouraging comments. What you said is exactly what Denise and I did. Also, your statement about guilt is so true. Guilt removes the joy of gathering and puts it in the land of obligation. That’s not healthy. Trust you and your husband have a blessed Christmas!!
Do you have suggestions for Empty Nesters? This will be our first Christmas without either of our adult children. A hard thing to adjust to.
Thank you for reading and for the great question! Check out today’s blog post. Hope it helps. Denise and I have been there. Cheering you on!