In the U.S., Christmas is a time when we anticipate the falling of snow, and pine-scented candles, and friends and family. I look forward to most of that (although I actually hate being cold so I’m not looking forward to snow). All things considered, this season is pretty spectacular.
Every circle of family and friends celebrates Christmas with different traditions and customs. In mine, we all live near each other, and enjoy celebrating Christmas Eve with lots of extended family, lots of food, and singing Norwegian Christmas carols (which is a little tricky, forcing me to brush up on my Norwegian just once a year).
Christmas Day is presents around the tree with my parents and siblings, with big mugs of coffee. As we gather for round two of extended family time on Christmas Day, as a slightly smaller group of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, we eat copious amounts of food, share stories and tell jokes that fail to deliver a punch line. But throughout these couple of days we are laughing all the way. I think laughter is one of my family’s best traits.
As I have been with the Opportunity International family now for a year, I can’t help but think of the traditions my co-workers have with their family and friends, as well as our extended family all over the world of managers, loan officers and clients; each with their unique families and holiday traditions. What songs will we all ring out on Christmas day? What games will we play? How similar are our stories with miles between the tellers? What are the joys that we share this year, and what are the tears that made us a more real version of ourselves? While the languages and traditions are different, one thing is the same: it is a time to come together and share.
No matter where traditions, faith, and friends and family find you this season, take time to appreciate their significance in how they shape who we are and the communities we are a part of. I hope this season finds you sharing meaningful traditions with the ones you love.