umoja

Let’s talk about a “made up” holiday…..

So I was talking with Studmuffin about a week ago about the holidays that are happening now, and he said something about Kwanzaa that I have heard many people say – something about how it’s a “made up holiday”…

 

I won’t go into all of the parts that offend me about that statement, and I don’t wanna go into a full on rant here, but there are a few points about holidays I really would like to bring up.

  1. The biggest holiday in the world EVER is MADE UP.
  2. What do you think Jesus might say about the principles of Kwanzaa?

So for point #1 – the biggest holiday that has ever been celebrated is Christmas*. I wish to be clear: Jesus certainly was born and it absolutely was a miracle and I love celebrating the Birth of Christ. I revere Jesus so greatly – I cannot even find the words to express my love for Him.

!!!!!!!!BUT!!!!!!!!

a.) It is quite clear that Jesus was not born on December 25th or on January 7th; the date and time is not known. The exact year and season is up for debate, but was almost certainly not in the winter. So the date for the world’s biggest holiday ever is MADE UP. **

b.) Many of the most cherished traditions of Christmas have nothing at all to do with the birth of Christ: the lights, the tree, the giving of gifts, the feasting, mistletoe, holly, drummer boys, Yule logs- along with reindeer, sleighs and Santa (more on him below).

c.)  Santa Claus is sorta, kinda related to Saint Nicolas, but most of what  is even said about Saint Nicolas is myth, i.e. MADE UP. ***

Of course the best parts of Christmas are not made up – celebration of the Birth of Christ, peace on earth, goodwill towards men, generosity, family, love – all of that is real and true and so worth celebrating. I look forward to this part of Christmas every year! But all the rest of it is MADE UP.

Coming to my 2nd point: when one mentions the made-up-ness+ of Kwanzaa, why is that the thing that gets mentioned? Is it that we are somehow concerned that a made up holiday – that is not nearly so old, so widespread or very familiar – is somehow conflicting with another made up holiday that is old, widespread & familiar? I don’t get it.

First, let’s take a quick look at Kwanzaa: it began to be celebrated in 1966. It is a week-long celebration held in the United States and in other nations of the African diaspora in the Americas. It was begun – yes, MADE UP – by Dr. Maulana Karenga, who is still living (age 76 in 2017).  It was established as a means to help African Americans reconnect with their African cultural and historical heritage by uniting in meditation and study of African traditions and Nguzo Saba, which are the “seven principles of African Heritage” – which Karenga said “is a communitarian African philosophy”. ++

Unity

These principles are:

  • Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.

Self-determination

  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  • Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

  • Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  • Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

 

What part of the 7 principles above do you think Jesus would object to? Unity?

 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,  that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—  I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”      -John 17:20-23  NIV

How’s about self-determination?

“Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk?  Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing?”

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

                                                                   – 1 Corinthians 9:7, 24 but you should really read the whole chapter…..

Purpose

 

OK, let’s look at collective work and responsibility:

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. …Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else,  for each one should carry their own load. ”

– Galatians 6:2, 4 & 5

Creativity

I think you can see where I’m going with this…….I’m no Biblical scholar by any stretch of the imagination, and I’m certain those that are could find many, many more quotes from the Bible that uphold these same ideas. I cannot see any conflict at all with the ministry, laws and precepts of Jesus and the principles of Kwanzaa. Goodness knows ALL people on the planet would benefit from these principles.

Faith

So I delight in wishing you a Merry (made up) Christmas and a Happy (made up) Kwanzaa!

 


* Some lists have New Year’s Eve/Day as the biggest and oldest world celebration (like this one- 10 Most Celebrated Annual Holidays Around the World wonderslist.com 2017 (March/April?). However, as all of the world religions each have a different calendar, the date of the beginning of the new year is different than January 1st for a couple of billion people, whereas there are billions of people who celebrate Christmas, whether as a religious holiday or a secular one.

**You can read more here- When was Jesus born? LiveScience.com Jan 30, 2014     And here- Was Jesus born on December 25? United Church of God’  Beyond Today Jan 25, 2011

***You don’t have to take my word for it- Five Myths about St. Nick – Dec. 21, 2017 Washington Post

+ Yes, I just made up that word. 🙂

++ from Wikipedia Kwanzaa