What To Do on Thanksgiving When You're Not Invited
A Mama in FreedHearts Moms – our private FB group for parents of LGBTQI children – posted the comment below. (This and suggestions below reprinted with permission.)
"I’m really starting to hate the holidays. Every year I dread 'the conversation' about who’s invited. My father told me my son was welcome to bring his significant other for Thanksgiving. However, my mother told my son today it was immediate family only. So, just got off the phone with them, and looks like I won’t be spending Thanksgiving with my parents and sister, for first time in my life. I am proud of myself because I said everything to her that needed to be said. Sad, because she won’t budge. She told me she 'wouldn’t be mad at me for wanting to be with my son and I should put him first.' I’m like, wow, the hypocrisy. I even called her out for her non-Christian behavior and poor witness. She said it was my choice what to do, I was like, 'No, this is your choice.' My son, who is very close with his grandparents, is heartbroken. Can’t wait for Christmas...."
This in the name of Jesus. This in the name of “love.” I know, it sounds like we’re stuck on repeat.
But seriously, people.
“Holidays” or “holiness days,” is about WHOLENESS! Holiness means wholeness! On the holidays, you should do whatever you need to do for wholeness for you and your beloveds.
Here are some suggestions for all of you lovelies on the receiving end of this kind of conversation, from the wise and loving Mamas in our Facebook group.
"Celebrate the love at home! Have a big Thanksgiving and invite those in need of a love and hugs, who have no one else. Then post pictures of having the best thanksgiving ever because your heart and home were open.....just as Jesus’ was." I love this. So, so many people without family to love them well. Be that. Knowing someone welcomes them can make all the difference. Life-changing for them and you!
"Gather people together and go serve somewhere." We served with our kids at a homeless shelter several years when the kids were teens. It was life-giving! Here’s what one amazing mom suggests. “My kiddos became friends with LGBTQI kiddos, so our house became the safe spot to couch surf and hang out, a second (sometimes only) home. We’d end up putting tables together to host whomever wanted a noisy, family dinner where they could simply be. We’d invite the whole caboodle to help serve others either a day before or after which boosted their own esteem and self-worth. It became our tradition.” (Thanksgiving and Christmas are the most overserved days for shelters, so a different day is perfect! Be sure to call in advance. However you do it, it will be amazing.)
"Time for new traditions. Sadly, this year may require you to grieve the loss of old traditions. But the change can be healing, and may result down the road in changed hearts and attitudes. If that is the case, then you can invite them into your new way of gathering people together in love." I love this suggestion because it’s full of hope and forward thinking, by grieving and moving ahead. Whatever goodness was there before is available in a different form when you still have people to love around you.
"Go only where you can be WHOLE!" Not where you’ll be treated badly or looked down on, or where you had to go without your partner. You are valuable, and you don’t have to give up who you are to be with those who don’t accept who you are. I love that Jesus, and Holidays, are about WHOLENESS. Embracing those around us, not cutting them out. Loving, not resisting.
"Let them miss you." Don’t bend over backward to maintain a relationship singlehanded. I’m sad for those who are too afraid, too caught in their traditions, to see real life all around them. But it is not wise or loving of yourself to walk into a lion’s den. One mama told the letter-writer above, “Your mom will miss y’all. I guarantee it. Self-righteousness is a very cold companion.” Whether your family misses you are not, you can take steps to be safe and joyful. Who knows how their hearts may change over time, but that is beyond your control. What is in your control is how you spend the holiday.
Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks, to include, to love well, including yourself. This year, Rob and I are gathering with friends from our apartment house and going out to eat. I can hardly wait! I hope you decide on something you look forward to as well.
From my home to yours, from my heart to yours, I wish you a day full of joy and love.
With all my heart,