When it’s not safe to spend Christmas with family
Some survivors of abuse make the decision that it is not wise to spend Christmas with family. Others predetermine strict boundaries about how and where they will participate in family gatherings. And for some people it is simply impossible to spend Christmas with family or friends.
(John 7:1-13) After that, Jesus went about in Galilee, and would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. The Jews’ tabernacle feast was at hand. His brethren therefore said to him, Go on, and go into Judea, so that your disciples can see the works that you do. For there is no man who does anything secretly when he himself seeks to be known openly. If you do such things, show yourself to the world. (For as yet his brethren did not believe in him.)
Then Jesus said to them, My time is not yet come, but your time is always at hand. The world cannot hate you, but me it hates, because I testify of it that its works are evil. You go up to this feast. I will not go up yet to this feast, for my time is not yet full come.
These words he said to them, and remained still in Galilee. But as soon as his brethren had gone up, then he also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were, privately.
Then the Jews were looking for him at the feast, and said, Where is he? And there was much murmuring concerning him among the people. Some said, He is good, and others said, No, but he deceives the people. However no one spoke openly about him, for fear of the Jews.
Allow me to use that passage as a springboard for a little tale about how “Tangled”, a survivor of abuse, dealt with Christmas.
“Tangled” (she or he) went about her life quietly, having little or no contact with her family and former church, because her abusive ex had been in their ear slandering her…and manipulating them to disbelieve her.
Christmas was at hand. Tangled’s brothers and sisters said to her, “Are you coming to the family Christmas gathering? If you cared, you would come. Your excessive secrecy makes us suspect you. Why not come and be open with us?” (For her siblings did not believe she was really a victim of abuse. And they did not believe she still had to walk on eggshells because of the covert tactics of her ex.)
Tangled said to them, “The world cannot hate you, but me it hates, because I testify of it that its works are evil. You go to the Christmas feast; but I will not be going.”
These words she said to them, and remained where she was. However, when her siblings had left her, she also went to the feast, not openly, but as it were, privately. She celebrated Christmas in her own way – whatever way was safe for her.
(Mark 3:33-35) Then his mother and his brethren arrived and stood outside, and sent to him and called for him. The people were sitting around him, and they said to Jesus, Your mother and your brethren are asking for you outside. And he answered them, saying, Who are my mother and my brethren? And he looked round about on his disciples, who sat in a circle around him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren. For whosoever does the will of God, he is my brother, my sister, and mother.
Other posts about Christmas that victims of abuse might find helpful
A little stranger star – Barbara Roberts
The Abuser in the Christmas Story – Barbara Roberts