Expressions of Faith: Happy Kwanza

Rev. Monterey D. Lee, Sr.

Rev. Monterey D. Lee, Sr.

There are seven principles of Kwanza that creates unity, oneness, and gratitude. Kwanza is a non-religious celebration commenced yearly. Kwanza when properly celebrated, not only acknowledges the respect of elders and ancestors of family and community, but the celebration also encourages a connection of generations. In this, we recognize the imploring for unity. Unity in Swahili is ‘Umoja,’ which is the first principle of Kwanza. Unity perfected is oneness. The concept of unity or oneness is not just foundational in Kwanza, it abounds.

John 17:21-23: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

For those who consider these words of Jesus for guidance, he also prayed to the Most High God for our unity. Moreover, he stated that we be “made perfect” through oneness with each other and that we “also may be one with them Jesus Christ and the Father.”

The purpose of gratitude is the essence of good mental health and spirituality. Our deepest sense of gratitude comes through grace, with the awareness that we have not earned, nor do we deserve all that we’ve been given. The core foundation of unity and oneness will provide a greater appreciation for yourself and others.

The following are the seven principles of Kwanza celebrated on each day of the Holiday:
1) Umoja: Unity (December 26)
2) Kujichagulia: Self Determination (December 27)
3) Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility (December 28)
4) Ujamaa: Coope-rative Economics (December 29)
5) Nia: Purpose (December 30)
6) Kuumba: Creat-ivity (December 31)
7) Imani: Faith (January 1)

Let us strive to teach better lessons because we are always consciously or uncons-ciously mentoring or teaching someone. I pray that our maker, the Most High God, guides each of us to become better counselors and students.

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