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Kwanzaa Celebration

Genesis 1:27 states “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female.” NRSV

A Word of Hope

             Today is the first day of Kwanzaa. It is a holiday season celebrated by a lot of African American families and people of African American descent. It was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulena Karenga after the Watts riots in Los Angeles. He introduced Kwanzaa which is a celebrated between Christmas and the upcoming New Year. He wanted people who had African American ancestors to celebrate their heritage.

Dr. Karenga documented the principles and symbolism associated with Kwanzaa to acknowledge the African roots of the Americans with African American descendants. The seven principles were created to denote our social and culture heritages in the midst of a growing homogenous society. The principles called the Nguzo Saba (seven principles in Swahili) are:

Unity (Umoja) – to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

Self-determination (Kujichagulia) – to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

Collective Work and responsibility (Ujima) – to build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems to solve together.

Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa) – to build our stores, shops, and other businesses to profit from them together.

Purpose (Nia) – to make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Creativity (Kuumba) – 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.

Faith (Imani) – to believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

The scripture reading today in association with Kwanzaa emphasizes that God created us all and as a result we should celebrate who we are as God’s people including our heritage, values, and beliefs. Each day is celebrated with storytelling, songs, dancing, poetry reading, African drums, and lighting of one candle in the Kinyara (candleholder) for each of the seven nights. It is a festive occasion that is worthwhile to learn about the symbols, philosophies, and traditions of Kwanzaa.

We would like to encourage you to celebrate Kwanzaa this year to begin a new family tradition which highlights your heritage and belief systems to pass on to your children.


Dear God: Thank you for our legacy, traditions, and customs. We celebrate this Kwanzaa holiday season in remembrance of our ancestors, valuing who we are today, and who we are becoming. We know that you made us all in Your image, Creator of the Universe, and we are valued and loved unconditionally. We know that you want us to work collaboratively together to uplift one another, the community, and primarily, You, God. May it be so in Your son Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

Devotion Author

Minister Winner Laws, Cathedral of Hope Member. TCU Brite Divinity Graduate

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Childcare is provided at all Sunday and Wednesday services.

9 & 11 a.m. – Sunday Worship
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