Here's an email from a mother whose 17-year-old son is "on the run." He has a drug habit, and is basically floating from one living arrangement to another. This mother sent her son a letter inviting him to Christmas Eve dinner:
Sent letter to my son. He would have received it on Friday. In it I also expressed your advise. I have also invited him to join all our family for Christmas Eve dinner. It is Monday. Would you suggest any further contact? If yes when? Or do you think I should wait until he contacts us? Christmas Eve is in 6 days. It's frustrating when we don't have the answers ourselves anymore. What do you suggest?
The main goal is for (a) your son to start taking responsibility for himself, and (b) for you to take less responsibility in order to achieve (a).
Whenever you are undecided about what to say or do, ask yourself the question, "Is what I"m about to say or do going to promote the development of self-reliance in my son, or is it going to inhibit the development of self-reliance? If your decisions promote self-reliance, then they are good decisions ...period.
Thus, should there be further contact? I don't think so.
Further contact feels a bit like you taking on too much responsibility (again). He's been given an invitation. It's his choice whether to show up or not. If he "no shows" ...you can give him his gifts as well as a Christmas kiss on the cheek whenever he does show up. In the meantime, spend your time and energy on the family members that are near you.
Let go and let God. Don't give your son the power to steal your joy this Christmas -- this is YOUR choice.