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building community series

Installment 2: Welcoming all traditions to have a seat at your holiday table

Happy December and happy holidays, Explorer families! We're in a full-court press to the finish line of 2022! But first, PRESENTS! Yes, I know, it's not only about presents during this time, but I need to put an attention grabber in there somewhere. The holiday season is a time for family, near and far; friends, also near and far; lights; colors; presents, of course; and so much more. But how do we welcome EVERY holiday tradition to an equal spot at the Community Table?

Before you say, "Mr. Jon! You don't have my tradition represented!" Yes, precious one, I know. Did you know that there are at least 14 different holiday traditions that are celebrated worldwide JUST in the month of December? It's difficult to capture the scope of what that means for us as a community. That doesn't mean your tradition isn't valid or important! Not in the slightest. In fact, I LOVE learning about new traditions and celebrations. (I invite you, little Explorer, to reach out and tell me about yours sometime.)

What we all do need to do, is show grace and respect during this time of celebration for all of our friends, like you, who feel that their tradition is just as important as mine, or yours! Here's a quick and easy tip for you: LISTEN with your EARS and WATCH with your EYES and LEARN with your HEART. When you see another Explorer, or maybe one of their family members celebrate in a different way than you, why don't you ask your friend about it? I bet they would love to tell you. But if you do that, can you be open to hearing about their tradition? Can you watch with wide eyes to see all of the steps and love they have for their process? And can you learn with you heart about them as a person and as your friend? They're still your friend even if they do things a little differently than you do! And that's so cool! That, Explorer, is how you continue to build community, even during a time of year that may be difficult to understand everyone's differences.

Holiday celebrations not only cross all boundaries of tradition and community, but they also give us the opportunity to serve and share our open hearts to a community in need! There are many places all over our own city that offer places of comfort, refuge, and sustenance for those in our community that struggle during this time of year. I wanted to share one of those places with you. They're not an official Greenville Explorers partner, but they've been building and sustaining community in Greenville for a very long time. Triune Mercy Center provides emergency relief in the form of meals and access to resources such as medical and legal aid, addiction and mental health counseling, and an array of social services. Click on the image directly above to go to their website to see how you can help this holiday season! And then let me know! Sharing your stories and adventures with your community will make me so happy!

One last plug, Explorers, take some time this holiday season to make a small effort to shop locally! Support your small businesses that are the backbone of your community. Shop diverse businesses! Shop diverse owners and types of businesses! And as always, Keep Exploring, because it takes a village. And you've found one with us.


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