The Spirit of Community
The world is full of communities large and small that bring life. Some are family or friends. Some form around cities or nations, and others form around tables and fireplaces. Communities keep us together, giving us all a place to sit and share our dreams. We create a bond of community with one another in any way we can – sometimes it’s these little things that bring us together to flourish in times of trouble. Whether as co-workers, friends, or even as neighbors, what we share as a community is invaluable.
This is especially evident in this time of the year, with the holiday season upon us. All around, we hear of families coming together, sharing, and giving to others out of goodness of their hearts, and goodness to their communities. Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday you choose to celebrate, the spirit of community unites us.
Personally, I love my family’s traditions for this time of year, and I feel like they truly bring us together as a community. We organize a large-scale Secret Santa-style operation, only with mysterious “brown bag gifts” that we must make or give from our own collections. In the past, I have received precious family heirlooms, poems and works of art, and of course a large number of useless novelty items that have been passed around the country for years and years. It’s always an exciting surprise to see who will get the singing reindeer lowrider, the zebra-print snuggie, or the ever-popular “box full of love”, which is of course just an empty box. These may seem like insulting gifts, but it really is an honor to have any of them for a year.
But our family traditions don’t just end with our own community. The holiday season has also always been about helping the less fortunate, and my father and I, along with several family friends, volunteer to play music at a local homeless shelter to entertain them as they eat the potluck Christmas lunch that we help to donate and prepare. It is fun, heartwarming, and heartbreaking at the same time to be able to help these people by sharing a little of our community with them. Though it may not be much, we try to do what we can and the only payment I could ever ask for is to see the looks of joy and gratitude on their faces. It’s in these moments when I realize what the spirit of community and giving can do for you. Over the years, it has certainly become a humbling and powerful experience for me.
At OurPangea, we want to invite you to bring your community to us, and we’ll share ours with you. Whether it’s your thoughts, your jokes and gifts, or your help and time, our communities provide us the framework to enrich our lives and the lives of others. So in the spirit of this season, we invite you to give – to share, with us and each other. Share with us some of your holiday traditions, some of your hopes, aspirations, and dreams, so that our community may become stronger for now and the future.