If God is leading you to step out on faith and leave Christmas behind, the following principles may be helpful when breaking the news to your loved ones.
The decision not to celebrate Christmas can be a lonely road with only your convictions for company. Breaking with tradition, especially one infused with family and loved by millions, is going to lead to questions and maybe disapproval, but there are ways to negotiate the questions and help your family and friends understand.
First of all make sure you are clear about why you made the decision and think about how you will explain this to others. If Christmas is very important to your family, expect some resistance to your decision. After all, your family members love you and want you to be with them. Anticipate questions—they’ll probably be many of the same ones you initially had—and think through your answers ahead of time. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15, New International Version).
If you can it may be best to break the news to your family before plans are made for the annual Christmas celebrations to give them as much time as possible to get used to the idea and, depending on your circumstances, it might be a good idea to make alternative plans on Christmas Day. You may know other like-minded people who would want to join you.
Just as the apostles declared, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29), we must obey God over the desires of our family and friends. Pray and, if you can, fast before talking with your family. Ask God for wisdom. Your Creator knows how to help you in your relationships with others. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11).
You might think you’re being nice to your family and friends by “kind of” participating a little to spare their feelings. However, you may just be prolonging their hope that you’ll “come to your senses” and change your mind.
There is so much more to family life than any one holiday, and you have many opportunities to show your family you love them. But unfortunately you may not find acceptance with some family and friends on this issue no matter what you do. (Matthew 10:34-39).
So it is best to accept some people will be offended or disapproving. You should honor the role they have in your life by being sensitive to them and doing what you can to minimize their perceived offense (Romans 12:18), while keeping in mind they won’t understand until God helps them to understand in the time that is best for them. It is not your job to convince them to give up Christmas.
Your relationships with family members and friends involve far more than Christmas celebrations. Instead of focusing on the few events related to Christmas, actively focus on all the other days of the year and other events you can share. Stay convicted, and be kind. You have the awesome responsibility and privilege of representing God’s way of life and you will be known by what your life produces (Matthew 7:20).
God wants us to understand His plan for all humanity, and He teaches us the purpose of life and our destiny every year through His annual festivals and weekly Sabbath Day.
Beyond Today Magazine