"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

12/9/08

Christmas Card Conflict

I'm not crazy about conflict. I wouldn't exactly say I avoid it like the plague, but I certainly don't go out looking for it. I try to avoid it when I can. I suppose most of us do. I'm not one to start up a debate just for fun, or to pick a fight of any kind. I'm perfectly happy, much of the time, to go through life completely peacefully.
However, conflict often finds me. And right now, I'm in the middle of one. Probably not a huge one, but a conflict nonetheless. And it isn't with another person. It's with me.
You see, I'm a Christmas card sender. I love to do it, and I love getting them (email me if you want my snail mail address LOL). This year, I have a list of just over 50 people I'm sending to. My husband and I picked out the perfect photo of the kids (can you look at those faces and disagree?), had them put on one of those lovely photo Christmas cards, and added our own "Christ-filled" greeting. We then ordered them, and they sit in my house as we speak waiting to be addressed, signed, stamped, and stuck in the mail.

But it's not easy. My problem, my conflict, is the cards for my side of the family. You see, I was raised Jewish, and my parents, and two of my four brothers, do not celebrate Christmas. It's not that they don't know "the reason for the season." They reject that reason. To them, Jesus was a blasphemer and a false messiah. My father occasionally uses my Lord's name as a curse word.

Now, I have absolutely no problem sending "Christ in Christmas" cards to my non-saved friends--those who may be atheists, agnostics, or secular Christians. But somehow, sending my Jewish parents a Christmas card seems wrong.
It feels like conflict. And I don't like conflict--especially with family. Remember?
So, what should I do? Do I buy a handful of Hanukkah cards? Do I find some generic "Happy Holidays" cards to send them, and perhaps a few of my "unreligious" friends? Or do I suck up and send them our Christmas cards, which wishes them "blessings as we celebrate the Word becoming flesh?"
Not an easy decision, of that I am certain.
I have gone through this each year since we got saved, but this is the first year we have put something so blatantly "Christian" directly on our family card. In the past, we've just gotten prints of a family picture and stuck them in cards we bought - and we always had a few generic holiday (or occasionally Hanukkah) cards for those members of my family. This year, the picture is printed directly on the card.

So, what am I doing this year? I haven't exactly decided. Actually, I do know what I'm doing. It's just that I'm not sure if I've purposely avoided a conflict, done "the wise thing," or something else.

You remember how I said I had fifty plus cards to send out? Well, we only ordered forty Christmas cards. So, yesterday I ordered twenty more, with the same picture but a different sentiment: "Merry Christmas from the Shers." (In all honesty, I couldn't have fit my original sentiment on this particular card anyhow) It still may rub my family somewhat wrong, but that's what they're getting. They can always snip the card part off and just hang up the picture.

Like I said, I'm still not sure what I did when I made this particular choice, But, it's done--at least until next year. What would you think if you got, say, a Hanukkah card? or a Ramadan card? What would you have done?
What should I do next year?
Heavenly Father, help me to discern the difference between avoiding conflict to my and/or Your detriment and being understanding and respectful of others' beliefs, especially at this time of year. I want to spread the true message of Christmas to many, especially those who don't accept Christ. Give me guidance in how to reach out the the lost this holiday season in ways that will be effective for Your Kingdom, no matter how much conflict I may need to engage in. In the precious Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.

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8 comments:

  1. This is a difficult situation you are in. I think you did the right thing this year -- you are still declaring the reason for your celebration, Christmas, but not offending your family.

    I had never thought about what it must feel like for you to be caught in between both the Old Covenant and the New on such a regular basis.

    I am praying about this for you. Christ knows your heart and the hearts of your family. After all, He came for them! They just don't know it...YET.

    <3, Kristen

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  2. Bless your heart...that's got to be such a tough position to be in! I don't know how to advise you, but I can pray!

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  3. ((Jo)) What a dilema! But I think you're doing the right thing. They know how you believe and they see your lives. This, it seems, is a case where you your greatest witness is your life and your love.

    Praying...

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  4. Joann,
    (I like your blog!)

    Your posting on the "Chrismukah" (my wordage, not yours, smile)conflict is one I can very much agree with. And, I would have sent Hanukkah cards to my family. Here is why:

    Your family knows your faith. They may not see Jesus as Jewish, let alone the Moschiach. To send them Christmas cards may be a reminder to them of what they percieve to be a rejection and betrayal of them. Instead, show respect to what they believe. It goes a long way.

    There is more to this, which I'm in the process of writing about for my own blog. But for now, just tell your parents you love them. Tell them you honor your Jewish faith upbringing. And, thank G-d for their love. (hugs)

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  5. Wonderful question; less wonderful in the figuring out. How about just sending them a card telling them how much you love them and are thanking God for them this Christmas and then finding a nice holiday themed frame for the picture?

    I'd be up front and honest with them about how you feel and tell them you don't want to offend them and have thus decided to ____________ (you fill in the blank).

    Thinking of you tonight friend. Like Kristen, I've never thought about how this must feel for you.

    peace~elaine

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  6. Hmmm. Well, sure I can tell you what you should do - you should blatantly write out the gospel for them and declare your love for Jesus and how He has changed your life. Now would I do that? NO!!!!! DO I do that? NOO!!! I'm too chicken. I think you made a nice compromise with the Merry Christmas card. You are not hiding your faith or being ashamed of why you are celebrating. If I got a Hanukkah card from a Jewish friend, I wouldn't be offended at all. If from a family member who had converted, I'd be heart-broken, but not offended. A Ramadan card? I honestly don't know!

    Praying for you and sending cyber-hugs.

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  7. Though not with Jewish background, I suspect many go through similar struggles to find the "right thing to do" simply because of non-Christian family members. I know I do. For example, I have a sister who (sort of) practices buddhism, and has been very outspoken against my "religion." Well, I try to focus on our reason for celebrating, and not worry too much about it all... Have a very Merry Christmas!!!

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  8. Ya know what I would do? I would be truthful in love. I would tell them your dilemma. I would say, "Mom, I know how you feel about Jesus and I have a dilemma. I have cards that state our beliefs about Him with pictures of the kids. Would you rather me send you one of those, or a generic card, or Hannukah? I care about your feelings." Then let her decide. She will probably want one of the kids. I'm sure she gets them all the time. How can you live here and be angry about the gospel every time a card comes? :) For what it's worth, there's my 2 cents! :) Dawn

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