Catholic at Christmas


#1

Ok, so, I'm 24 and a recent convert to Catholicism as of Easter 2010 (awesome!), and I'm loving every bit of it. As I've been growing deeper in my faith, the more I've become afarid of Christmas. Well, not the reason for the season, but rather, my family.

I'm now the only Catholic in a large family of Protestants (Lutherans to be exact), and it's finally Christmas and time to face them about my conversion. No one's happy with it I feel, and everyone's treating it like the pink elephant in the room. I kinda feel like everyone's walking on eggshells around me; it just feels awkward and uncomfortable. We just got back from Christmas services at a Methodist church, and I suddenly felt very uncomfortable without the presence of a priest and the Eucharist.

My question is for any converts out there or anyone with sound advice. How did you deal with your family around Christmas time? What would you say to help alleviate some of the tension? I love my family and my faith, but this season is really tearing me apart.


#2

I converted in 2009 and my dad's side of the family is and remains Methodist, whereas my mom's is Catholic. It looks like there is no Catholic side in your family, so I can see why you are concerned.

Item number one: Be not afraid.

Item number two: These are Lutherans we are talking about—not Fundamentalists. Luther was on record as subscribing to the sacraments (albeit with different Eucharistic theology), veneration of Mary, etc. So what's left? Is your family really going to start up a debate about imputed vs. infused righteousness or transubstantiation vs. consubstantiation over the Christmas turkey table? If so you can answer their questions charitably—but the most likely course of events is that any questions about your conversion will be limited to asking how your new life as a Catholic is going. I would just acknowledge how God has blessed you and smile.

Ultimately the best thing to do is to live out, rather than talk about, your faith unless the opportunity for dialogue shows itself. If you would like your family to convert then you will need to show your faith by actions first, words second.

I will take yet another opportunity to recommend St. Dymphna. Although best known for her patronage over nervous and mental disorders, she is invoked for family harmony as well due to her experiences with familial strife between her pagan father and Christian mother.

Belated congratulations on swimming the Tiber and Merry Christmas!


#3

[quote="Ryzeke, post:1, topic:223761"]
Ok, so, I'm 24 and a recent convert to Catholicism as of Easter 2010 (awesome!), and I'm loving every bit of it. As I've been growing deeper in my faith, the more I've become afarid of Christmas. Well, not the reason for the season, but rather, my family.

I'm now the only Catholic in a large family of Protestants (Lutherans to be exact), and it's finally Christmas and time to face them about my conversion. No one's happy with it I feel, and everyone's treating it like the pink elephant in the room. I kinda feel like everyone's walking on eggshells around me; it just feels awkward and uncomfortable. We just got back from Christmas services at a Methodist church, and I suddenly felt very uncomfortable without the presence of a priest and the Eucharist.

My question is for any converts out there or anyone with sound advice. How did you deal with your family around Christmas time? What would you say to help alleviate some of the tension? I love my family and my faith, but this season is really tearing me apart.

[/quote]

As has been said, there Lutherans not Fundies, the Lutheran beliefs are quite close to own hour, with some subtle (but major) differences, 2:1 your family probably not know their faith 100% to argue on the exact differences (i know i don't know the Lutheran beliefs good enough to get into a worth while debate). so ask them if they would like to attend Mass with you for Christmas (as you need to as a precept of you faith, it is a Holy Day), if no then humbly say that's okay, and thank them anyway, and go to Mass, there is no need to feel bad, im the only practicing Catholic in my family, my moms Anglican and my dads a lapsed Catholic (slowly coming back though), so i regularly attend Mass on my own, as well as do Scripture readings on major seasons, such as i will read the whole nativity, from the visitation of the Angel Gabriel to the arrival of the Magi, on my own tomorrow.

You are not alone, Christ is with you always (:

and May God Bless you in this Season of joy, Merry Christmas from the United Kingdom


#4

[quote="Ryzeke, post:1, topic:223761"]
My question is for any converts out there or anyone with sound advice. How did you deal with your family around Christmas time? What would you say to help alleviate some of the tension? I love my family and my faith, but this season is really tearing me apart.

[/quote]

I'm a convert also. Tomorrow I'm taking my parents, who are not Catholic, to Mass for the first time ever. Hallelujah!


#5

Thank you everyone for the quick replies and suggestions/answers!

I know I posted that they were Lutherans, but they have beliefs closer to fundamentalists. I have no idea how that happened exactly. They aren't very close to the precepts of the faith, and they tend to just repeat what was told to them by others. But what someone posted earlier, recommending that I just live out my faith; that's exactly what I'm trying to do. I'm not raising up any neccassary arguments or disputes; and I want them to know that I'm MORE than happy to answer any questions they might have.

In any case, the replies have helped quite a bit. Merry Christmas!


#6

I am, and have been for over 40 years, the only Catholic in my family.

I go to Mass on Christmas. I celebrate with them with dinner, presents, etc., but I will not go to a Protestant Church. They understand, and they don’t try to discourage this at all.

Part of your feeling is most likely coming from yourself. YOU feel different, and you think that everyone sees you that way. BUT, in fact you remain the same person you have always been. You simply have different religious beliefs, and you should not be going to their Church for your Christmas celebration. Join them afterward, or before, but you go to Mass.

Don’t argue with them, but stick to your beliefs. They WILL respect you for doing so, and you may well cause them to investigate when they discover that you are not so different, you are happy with your choice, and you stand up for your own faith.


#7

The Journey Home with Marcus Grodi has been interviewing people from Sweden and Norway, who are Catholic converts from Lutheranism, and Pentecostal (one). They are citizens of Countries with Lutheranism as the state religion, or the predominant religion, with a minority of Catholics. Very good interviews with many people that know what you are going through!


#8

Thanks again for all th replies and suggestions. Old Medic, you told me exactly what I needed to hear. Come Christmas morning, I told my family I had to go to Mass, and it was non-negotiable. They tried to convince me otherwise, but I remained firm in my decision.

When I got back, the air was definitely a lot 'lighter' and a lot of the tension inside me was gone. I probably over-dramatized the whole thing, but it's my family and I love them dearly. They'll hopefully learn where I stand in future settings, and this won't be as much of an issue.


#9

I completely understand your issue. Mine is similar...but different. I was born and raised Baptist...although my mother was Catholic until she married my dad...( I believe she still is Catholic...just no longer practicing) I attended church and Sunday school my whole life..and never felt like it 'fit'. I was baptized when I was 19...and was overjoyed with my 'believers baptisim' at the time...but fell away. I was back and forth for many years.
Then one day I sadly went to an great aunts funeral at the Catholic Church in my town...and 'it' hit me...I knew without a doubt I had come 'home' I had been learning about the Rosary on my own for awhile before that...just feeling drawn to the rhythym of the beautiful prayers...Mary had me...and she was not letting me go. I attended RCIA...and entered the church this past year....2010. Praise be to God. I love my faith...I am questiond alot by my family...I smile..try to answer...smile some more and say a little prayer for them. I have more of an issue with my husband..he supported my decision at the time, I think he thought I would just forget about it after a time. Not going to happen.
We just don't discuss it much anymore...My darling husband by the way considers himself 'agnostic'. Which I don't even understand...our two boys will not attend church...they did with me when they were younger...they are now 20 and 18...I find it lonesome with no one in my home to share my faith with or even talk about how awesome it makes me feel. My husband is a great guy...treats me wonderfully and I think he tries to understand. I've chosen 'Mary Monica' for my saint name...Mary because she led me 'home' and Monica because St. Monica prayed so hard for her husband and sons.
Keep my in your prayers...you are in mine


#10

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