Christian and Jewish? How One Interfaith Family in Bibb County Does It

7:03 PM, Dec 23, 2011   |    comments
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Shaw Bullington and her 5-year-old twin boys read from a book of Christmas stories, the children's rapt faces illuminated by the soft glow of a Menorah.

It's a typical holiday season in their Bibb County home. Bullington is a practicing Christian. Her husband, Richard, is Jewish.

She says a lot of thought and long conversations went into the decision to raise their children with both faiths -- and so far, she says, it's working.

"We give them a lot of both," says Bullington, with a laugh. She casts a glance around the living room decorated with Stars of David and Santa Claus. "As you can tell by our home, it's over-inundated with both."

She recognizes that, to some adults, their decision seems confusing.

"I know that it's a fear of my husband's family that the Christian side of the holiday season is going to take over, you know? And then the Christian side of my family is worried that the Hanukkah, the Jewish side, will take over."

But to the kids, it seems simple.

Cameron sums it up: "It means everybody will be happy."

For 5-year-olds, both children have an impressive knowledge of both traditions.

Porter can tell you that Hanukkah is a celebration of the Macabees' military victory --  though as a kid, he doesn't put it quite like that.

They both know traditional Jewish prayers, which they'll proudly recite on request.

So far, Bullington says they're too young for tough questions. But she says when they come, she and Richard will be ready.

"The questions come along as they start exploring faith," says Bullington. "I think, as adults, we all have hard questions."

The family doesn't mix the traditions.

On Christmas, Bullington says they'll open presents and celebrate the birth of Christ with her family.

For Hanukkah, they'll join Richard's parents for a traditional meal and lighting the Menorah.

"I feel like God loves us all, and he created us all in His image," explains Bullington. "I want our kids to see that more than one type of person makes the world go round."

And she says when her children grow up, it won't matter to her if they hang Star of David lights, or baby Jesus figures in their home.

"I think it's so incredibly important that whichever path they choose, it's whole-hearted."

 

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