“For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest! And on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:11-14)
As we prepare to celebrate God’s greatest gift to humanity, the nativity of our Lord, Jesus Christ, let it be for us a time of renewed joy and peace in our life, and the lives of those we love.
While our families have many traditions in the celebration of Christmas, let us always remember that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of God’s word becoming flesh, Jesus Christ. This celebration calls us to remember the gift of Jesus Christ to the world and to ourselves and our families, the gift of His Love and His Peace. It is this gift that fills us with hope as we move forward into the New Year.
As we celebrate the Joy of Christ’s birth, this Christmas, we are also reminded of the importance of family and culture in our present life experience. In recent years one of the great experiences of the Christmas season within the African American Community has been the celebration of Kwanzaa.
Kwanzaa is a special celebration of our family, our community and our culture. It was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga a professor of Africana Studies in 1966. It is celebrated in conjunction with the Christmas Season, from December 26 to January 2. It is during this holiday period, as families and communities come together that one can organize activities around the Nguzo Saba, “The Seven Principles” to develop a stronger family and community. These Principles are: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith).
The celebration Kwanzaa within the context of our Christmas Celebration provides us the opportunity to reaffirm our dignity of the human person within our community, and the well-being of family and community as we celebrate the Birth of the “Word made Flesh.”
May this Christmas Season bring many blessings to you and your families, and may the New Year bring happiness, joy and renewed peace within your life.
Have a Merry Christmas, a happy and blessed Kwanzaa and a blessed New Year.
In Saint Joseph,
Rev. Peter C. Weiss, S.S.J.
Chief Religious Officer