How Do I Treat My LGBT Child During the Holidays?

Being the Christian parent of an LGBTQ child comes with many challenges, especially during the holidays. Should I invite my child home for Christmas? Do I go and visit them? Should I attend functions where their partner will be present? These are just a few of the many questions Christian parents of LGBTQ children wrestle with every year.

It’s tough to know how to respond. For five years, while I was part of the gay lifestyle, my parents wrestled with these same dilemmas. Admittedly, I was angry at some of the decisions they made, and it’s only been in retrospect that I realized they had wisdom beyond my years.

First, as someone who has wrestled with same sex attraction (SSA) all my life, I can say with great authority that the holiday season is the toughest time of year for those who are SSA. Even before I entered my gay relationship, being a single young adult in the prime of my life meant I’d receive a barrage of similar questions every Thanksgiving and Christmas. After noting my younger brother was now married, inevitably one of my relatives would turn to me and say something like, “So, Jim, when are you going to find the right one?”

But bad as holidays are for those who are SSA, holidays are even more difficult for the Christian parents of LGBTQ kids who openly embrace this lifestyle. I can’t speak for all, but for my parents, the holiday season was pure torture for them. If you are the Christian parent of an LGBTQ child and you’re wondering what to do with your child this holiday season, here are a few questions that are important to answer.

How Should I Celebrate Christmas and Easter with My LGBTQ Child Who Says They’re a Christian?

This is the first question we must address and it’s here we should make some distinctions. There are two primary categories of LGBTQ individuals who make this claim. The first are like Matthew Vines and say, “Christians who affirm the full authority of Scripture can also affirm committed, monogamous same-sex relationships.” [1]

The second are individuals like Gregory Coles, author of Single, Gay, Christian. Coles prefers the term “gay” over “same sex attracted” but he is committed to living a celibate lifestyle. As he writes, “The decision to live as a celibate gay Christian is a weighty one in part because it means rejecting society’s most obvious pathways to intimacy.” [2]

I place individuals like Vines and Coles in separate categories. I believe Vines’ view is sinful, but I believe Coles’ view is very misguided. There is a difference. If you’re a parent of an LGBTQ child, it’s impossible to celebrate events like Christ’s decent to earth and his resurrection from the dead with a child who openly embraces the very sin Christ came to overcome. But if you’re the parent of someone who calls themselves as celibate gay Christian, you can still have fellowship even as you debate the wisdom of this approach.

Should I Invite My LGBT Kids’ Partner for Thanksgiving or Christmas?

This one is tough. Many would say yes, but my parents said no. And for that I am grateful. When I was away from God and in a gay relationship for five years, my parents never allowed my partner in their home. This made be angry and brought them untold grief. But it also established some clear boundaries. They loved me and would come to where I was at, but they would not approve of my lifestyle.

This is the approach I believe parents of LGBTQ children should take. At some point, you must look at your LGBTQ child and say these words from Joshua 24:15: “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Should I Get My LGBTQ Child a Present?

Of course. I’m not advocating you cut anyone off. Even if your kids are far from God, there are many practical ways, such as buying a Christmas present, to express your love for them. Jude 1:22-23 says, “Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” Every LGBTQ child is different, but regardless of where they are at, I would encourage you to make at least one intentional effort to display Christ’s love to them during the holiday season.

If Another Family Member is Hosting a Holiday Party, Should I Go if My LGBT Kid Will Be There with His or Her Partner?

Again, this is tricky. Because this isn’t your home, I’d ask yourself this question: If I go to this event, will my presence be seen as an endorsement of my child’s lifestyle? If the answer is no, then go. But if the answer is yes, then I would recommend you not attend.

Should I Treat My SSA Child Any Different This Holiday Season?

Yes. If you have a child who is not living in sin, but wrestles with SSA, you should express even more love and compassion than you normally would. Keep in mind this season of the year will likely be very difficult for your SSA child. And in times like this, it is important to sit with your SSA child and acknowledge their grief. 

Perhaps remind them of these word from Christopher Yuan that, “God’s faithfulness is proved not by the elimination of hardships but by carrying us through them. Change is not the absence of struggles; change is the freedom to choose holiness in the midst of our struggles.”[3]

Conclusion To summarize, if you’re the parent of an LGBTQ child, the holidays can be very tough. But in these moments lean into God and trust his strength. Maintain clear boundaries, extend proper love, and pray that God continues to work in the heart of your child.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jim Domen has pastored since 2004, receiving his Master of Divinity from Azusa Pacific University in 2008. He is an Ironman completing an Ironman distance triathlon: swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles and running 26.2 miles; body builder, Recorded Conservative Evangelical Friends Pastor; President of the Global Rainbow Crosser's Alliance (Representing 70 nations of Former LGBTQ leaders); Founded ChurchUnited.com and developed the Revealing the Rainbow conference series having Former LGBT individuals share their stories of change; and is an Author. He and his wife, Amanda, of over fourteen years, have three children. See more of their story at JimDomen.com. Copies of "Not A Mistake, ParentsHope for Their Gay Son" are purchasable at NotAMistake.com.Breaking Sins Grasp, Your Temptation Doesnt Define You” can be pre-ordered at BreakingSinsGrasp.com. Both books are accompanied by a video series and study guides. Jim is a contributing author to the Epoch Times and The Christian Post.
 

You may also contact Jim at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.

[1] Vines, Matthew. God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships. The Crown Publishing Group, 2014. 135.
[2] Coles, Gregory. Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity. InterVarsity Press, 2017. 79.
[3] Yuan, Christopher, and Yuan, Angela. Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son's Journey to God. A Broken Mother's Search for Hope.. The Crown Publishing Group, 2011. 188.