What says “welcome” and “I am glad to know” you more than opening your home to 45 strangers, most from another country? Last evening, in an Omaha house laden with colorful Christmas lights and amid glass snowmen and snow globes, an Omaha family offered their home and hospitality to generations of immigrants from Guatemala so that they can worship and keep their Christmas traditions. Others joined from China, Colombia and Nebraska.
Songs and prayers were heard in English, Mayan and Spanish. In all the prayers, there were two repeating themes. The first was thank you. Thank you for sharing your home. Thank you for teaching me about your traditions. Thank you for the wonderful food.
The other was an acknowledgement and prayer for those who have had to leave their homes because of war, violence or poverty and for families that are separated by many miles.
Local efforts like this in Omaha and across Nebraska help us all create integrated communities, where immigrants feel welcomed into the social fabric of their adopted homes – leading to stronger, more vital and vibrant communities.
Yesterday, the White House Office of Public Engagement blogged about Welcoming America and shares how the work is at the forefront of helping America’s communities to be globally competitive and welcoming places for all to live and work. Locally, Nebraska Is Home – as well as many other inspired individual and community efforts like this Posada – is bringing awareness to this new approach to integration.