Make Known the Message, Be Ambassadors of the Word!

The LORD bless you and keep you!  
The LORD let his face shine upon      
you, and be gracious to you!  
The LORD look upon you kindly and      
give you peace!

We begin this new year as we do each year celebrating and honoring Mary the mother of God. This January 1st as we close our Kwanzaa celebration we also celebrate our rich African American culture in this Harvest Festival. We recall Christ’s great gift of life, love and faith to our families and to all of us as a people.

We hear a message that serves as a model to us all to be messengers and ambassadors of the Word. The message tells us of God’s good news first being proclaimed to the lowly, the poor and the powerless. Those on the peripheries are thus called to bec the first to proclaim the message of the angles.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

The shepherds did not keep quiet, rather they become the first Ambassadors of the Word. They get up and go to see what had been proclaimed to them the hidden mysteries of the incarnation. Just as they set out to see and bear witness to the message proclaimed to them we too are called like them to not be afraid. As we celebrate cultural heritage and faith we too are messengers of God’s faithfulness. This significance of this celebration serves as a reminder of God’s great action in our lives, as well as a call to action. Rooted in our history we testify to the ability to overcome all odds. The survival through the evils of slave trade, through the middle passage, with centuries of subjugation and oppression, we are still here. Our story even our pain and sorrow cannot be ignored, swept under the rug as though it didn’t exist. It’s our story, it’s our pain, it’s our struggle and it cannot be dismissed as too offensive or embarrassing to mention. They values of the Nguzo Saba bear witness to the ability to endure and over come oppression and degradation. To find in the struggle itself the life force to move beyond and overcome suffering that gives way to hope.

(The Seven Principles)

Kwanzaa Symbol - Umoja (unity)Umoja (Unity)
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
Kwanzaa symbol- Kujichagulia (self-determinationKujichagulia (Self-Determination)
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.
Kwanzaa Symbol - Ujima (collective work and responsibility)Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s 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.
Kwanzaa symbols - Nia (purpose)Nia (Purpose)
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
Kwanzaa symbol - Kuumba (Creativity)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.
Kwanzaa symbol - Imani (faith)Imani (Faith)
To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

These Seven Principles speak to the ability to reach into our past to find those core beliefs and values that have the power to strengthen and continue to serve as unifying force as we step into our future as a people. The image of the Sankofa, in The Ghana’s Twi language meaning to go back and fetch that which was left behind that it might be brought forth to bring knowledge, wisdom and understanding to enrich, strengthen and restore us.

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