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I served my mission in Japan where only 1% of the population identifies as Christian, which had its ups and downs around Christmastime. Celebrations of the Savior’s birth outside of our church building were rare, so it was harder to join in on many of the Christmas traditions I was used to. (For example, rather than opening presents, my companion and I spent Christmas morning handing out flyers at a busy train station because everyone was heading to work like any other day.) However, serving my mission in a predominantly non-Christian country gave me many opportunities to teach the people why they saw Christmas lights go up in all the local stores and why holiday celebrations were such a big deal on American movies and TV.
I found that the best way to avoid homesickness during this festive season was to bring my own Christmas traditions to the mission field.
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