Saturday Symposium: Holiday Challenges

A blessed Saturday to all of our readers! This year, Thanksgiving coincided with Sarah’s birthday so we had a good time observing two holidays. We’ve spent time with family and friends. We continue to remember all those who are traveling in our prayers. Be safe!

Let’s get on with our weekly Saturday Symposium question:

How this works: It’s very simple. We ask a multi-part question related to a topic we’ve blogged about during the past week or are considering blogging about in the near future, and you, our readers, share your responses in the comments section. Feel free to be open, reflective, and vulnerable…and to challenge us. But as always, be mindful of the comment policy that ends each of our posts. Usually, we respond fairly quickly to each comment, but in order to give you time to think, come back, add more later if you want, and discuss with other readers, we will wait until after Monday to respond to comments on Saturday Symposium questions.

This week’s Saturday Symposium question: The run up to Christmas can be challenging for celibate people, for LGBT people, and for anyone who feels estranged from their family or their church. We’d love for our posts here at A Queer Calling to be relevant and potentially useful for people facing trying circumstances around the holidays. We’d be interested in hearing from our readers: what challenges do the holidays present for you? Is there anything you’re especially anxious about this year? 

We look forward to reading your responses. If you’re concerned about having your comment publicly associated with your name, please consider using the Contact Us page to submit your comment. We can post it under a pseudonym (i.e. John says, “your comment”) or summarize your comment in our own words (i.e. One person observed…). Participating in this kind of public dialogue can be risky, and we want to do what we can to protect you even if that means we preserve your anonymity. Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings,

Sarah and Lindsey

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8 thoughts on “Saturday Symposium: Holiday Challenges

  1. I guess my biggest thing about christmas would be I miss the church i grew up in. Every christmas growing up my entire family even dad would go to christmas eve mass. There was a tradition of the church being dark and barely lit and a candle being passed around to light your own. I waited happily for the day i would be old enough to get my own candle to light. The music was cheery and the happiness was contagious. I miss the togetherness and unity my family had. I just feel like i cant take part or that i belong there anymore….

    On a lesser note, I’m saddened that my family doesnt fully accept me or K my fiancé. Our relationship is seen as less and when around extended family we have to watch our behavior and words because they are not supposed to know I’m a lesbian. Sometimes i just wish i could hold her hand during family holidays that are stressful for the introverted me.

    • Thanks for sharing. Changing traditions is always hard, especially when one feels excluded from what someone has done before. Lindsey’s an introvert and joins with you in your sadness that somehow you’re expected to change how you interact with K in radical ways just because your family is uncomfortable.

  2. colormeanew, I just hurt so much for you right now. I’m so sorry your relationship isn’t honored in your family. I’ll pray. <3 Hugs to you and K, if you'll accept virtual hugs from a stranger on the internet. 🙂

    My holiday situation is unusually lucky, really. I have loving family, and being straight and married, I'm not faced with shame, although being childless is tough (that's more personally based, however).

    There are two things that I do seriously struggle with, though. One is going back into the Christian bubble. It's stressful to be around dismissive comments about Ferguson and wisecracks about Christians getting forced to photograph gay weddings, when my options are to have a fight or to smile tightly and let them go on thinking I agree.

    The second is that I grew up Baptist, and I'm not anymore. I'm a half-agnostic Catholic. And though I don't think I can ever go back, there's something weirdly inwardly destabilizing about leaving your faith of origin. I recently heard a pop Christian Christmas song I'd heard just once before–the last time I visited my parents' church with them, on Christmas day a year or two ago–and somewhere around the first refrain, I recognized it and immediately went into major meltdown mode. I'm not sure that childhood peace and certainty is regainable under any circumstances, but I miss it so much.

    • We appreciate you sharing your thoughts. Culturally, there are many different opinions as to what counts as “real Christianity” over the holiday season. We have many friends who get really frustrated about how their families set boundaries around conversation and action.

      Prayers for you!

  3. The holidays unfortunately present several challenges for me:

    My family is absolutely intolerant & openly bashes LGBT people, with no hesitation.

    My daughter died on December 28, 2012 … the holidays have been very difficult since then. Grief & loneliness often overwhelm me during times of celebration since her passing.

    It has been made clear that the Southern Baptist Church is no longer the church home its always been, once I decided to no longer hide my sexuality from my local congregation. This feels especially painful as Christmas nears.

    • Friend, thank you so much for stopping by the comments.

      There are some families who simply fail to see how their actions are loving. Your comment here has inspired us to seek out some guest posts from folks with exceptionally tenuous and hurtful family experiences. Too many LGBT people have hostile families where we’d like to put something up on the blog even if the two of us have not had a comparable experience.

      You and your beloved daughter are in our prayers. We experience our own difficult anniversaries around losing loved ones, and we can only imagine the pain of remembering an anniversary around the holidays.

      Frankly, we wish we had more to say than offering you many great big hugs. Sometimes it’s best to enter into the sadness in solidarity.

  4. Challenges for me around Christmas mainly revolve around visiting my family:

    I came out to my parents in February and it was received very differently by my mom and my dad. My mom listened and indicted she understood I was sharing with them so they could know me more deeply, nine months have passed and my we are just starting to have conversations now about what I believe, what my sexuality means, and how this all plays out in my life. My dad on the other hand was and is not interested in conversation and told me a. I’m not gay, b. I shouldn’t tell anyone, c. Our extended family would reject me if I did.

    I don’t know if either of them have told any of my extended family, but I would like to be out to everyone, yet my family has some serious homophobia and a habit of gay bashing so I don’t know that I’d be well received. I have been openly posting articles (including some from here) and opinion pieces on my Facebook about LGBTQ issues so I am trying to kinda alert them to the fact with out having to say “Merry Christmas, and oh I’m queer.” Plus the fact I am perusing celibacy and my extended family is growing ever more curious about when I will find a man.

    The other big struggle is that during the time I visit my parents and the rest of my family I am away from my church and all the people there who I love and who love me and support me and help me work through the difficulty and frustration and emotion of all this stuff, and I miss out on all the celebration of Advent season and Christmas Day because there isn’t a similar denomination near where my family lives.

    • You bring up a great point about what happens as adult children leave home and move to different areas. There’s often something about the Christmas season that involves “going back” to be with family and participating in their way of observing the time.

      Have you found any helpful ways to start a conversation about celibacy within your family?

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