Many times in children’s ministries at Christmas time you will hear children of divorce voice their concern about Christmas and their missing parent. These children may express the desire for the missing parent to come home again. Your first inclination might be to jump in and try to help this family celebrate a Merry Christmas with everyone together again. I would caution you to be very careful in attempting an endeavor like this.
There are many reasons this should not happen. If it is the first Christmas a family has been separated, children may be exhibiting sadness and apprehension about the approaching holidays. Some might even beg their parents to celebrate Christmas together. Many times this is done in the hopes that their parents will remember how much they used to love each other. Kids will be dreaming and maybe even conniving about how to “help” their parents fall in love again.
Sometimes it is one of the parents who may be unduly influencing the child. For some children they may be getting pressure from the parent that was left. That parent may be feeding the child ideas so the child will try to convince the other parent to return home just for the holidays or just for one day – Christmas.
Some divorced parents may come to you asking for your help. They may say it’s best for the kids if the other parent will just return home for the holidays. Keep in mind that the family unit the kids have known has changed. The kids may be getting used to a new schedule and routines. While they may want the other parent to come home, they have been learning how to live in two different homes. If the parent comes home, it will mean another change for the children to experience. And then, what happens if (and generally when) the parent leaves again right after Christmas?