So around 2009/2010 I lost the desire to celebrate Christmas though I loved the gospel accounts of the Holy Family running into Egypt to escape the genocide of King Herod against Hebrew babies (how could a white Messiah hide out in an African nation?) and though I loved decorating and buying as well as receiving gifts (my love language is gifts) I didn’t want to celebrate this day anymore. Something seemed off as I didn’t feel closer to The Most High though I went to services and kept an Advent journal Christmas always seemed to make many feel unworthy and rushed. Additionally, I didn’t see this celebration in the scriptures but for a few years I went along with the flow, but around 2012 after praying and fasting around Easter/Passover I received confirmation to start observing the Sabbath and the Feast of the Scriptures. I also decided that I would examine the practices I learned as a Christian: were these practices what Yahshua calls the “traditions of man that nullify the word of The Most High” (Mark 7:8)? Additionally as a Black woman I struggle with being pressured into other people’s agendas verses following my spirit’s calling and so in light of this last year I incorporated Hanukkah into my spiritual life loving the story of the Maccabees who resisted Roman domination as I struggle to resist the domination of white supremacy that encroaches on my temple (my body) and tries to change my hair, my features, my spirituality, my joys and my community. See the story of the Maccabees rebelling against Rome is the story of oppressed people practicing agency against their oppressors and the miracle of The Most High keeping their oil burning confirms for me that Abba does not want his children living under oppression. I also love the Hanukkah story because it’s a celebration of survival and as I reflect on my recent visit to the Slave Castles of Ghana I realized that the fact that I am still alive means my ancestors survived: Roman domination and escape into Africa, the Slave Castles, the Middle Passage, Old Jim Crow, the New Jim and continue to survive. Now in the memory of my ancestors and in praise to The Most High I don’t want to just survive but I want to thrive knowing that no one can curse what Yah has blessed and no one can destroy my people. This is why I celebrate Hanukkah not as an alternative to Christmas but as a praise to The Most High that my people are still here, that after homelessness and foster care I am still here and that my generations will be blessed! This post isn’t to judge anyone who observes Christmas it is just my reflection and celebration. The leader of my Congregation Jonathan Mickens said “everyone can be a Maccabee” and so how are we resisting the defilement of our temples and the destruction of our culture? To learn more about Hanukkah read the Book of Maccabees which was originally included in the King James Bible, to learn about the Feast of Dedication (which is the scriptural name for Hanukkah as the Maccabees rededicated the temple after the A Romans defiled it read: Psalm 30 and John 10:22. Happy Hanukkah and A Joyous Feast of Dedication. Now I am off to celebrate with the youth of my temple hopefully this old lady can keep up😁😂!
Kwame Ture aka Stokely Carmichael famous SNCC organizer, Pan-African and firebrand speaks on the role of religion in liberation. A highlight of this speech is that according to the Bible Jesus never stepped foot in Europe so he could have been any color BUT white. Additionally, Ture outlines the many contributions Africa has made to world religions in general and Christianity in particular such as monotheism and the monastery.
Many do not know that Kwame Ture seriously considered becoming a preacher as a teenager. I actually think this calling was fulfilled just outside of the church walls in struggle for African people. May this mighty warrior rest in peace!
- The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (abagond.wordpress.com)
- Fear of Mother Earth: Why The Black Woman Must be Destroyed in the System of White Supremacy ” diaryofanegress (innerstandingisness.wordpress.com)
- A Dismayed Democrat Reads the Bible (religiondispatches.org)
Today is the first day of Kwanzaa the Pan-African Holiday celebrating African culture and principals. For more information on this holiday visit: http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org.
Be Blessed as we continue to celebrate this season of holidays and prepare to for 2013!
- Kwanzaa holiday starts today with parade in South L.A. (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
- Kwanzaa 2012: Day 1 – UMOJA (wtpdiaries.wordpress.com)
- Erie church to host Kwanzaa celebration (goerie.com)
As I stated in an earlier post I am in Saas Fee, Switzerland in a short term Media & Philosophy program. Participants in this program are from a variety of countries and since we are in the 3rd day of the program I am meeting new people and inevitably someone will ask “where are you from?” This question always makes me uneasy because all I can say is America, when Africans ask me this question I grow more uncomfortable because they sometimes think I am African due to my name (especially Nigerians). I have sometimes replied “I am just from America” because the furthest I can trace my roots back is North Carolina where my family was owned by the Alston family who were the largest slave holding family in America (for more information about the Alstons read
Family Name by Rev. Alston).
When asked “where are you from” I am always reminded of the fact that my family’s history and heritage was stolen, identity is essential to understanding yourself, your past and your future. When a huge piece of your identity is missing you feel a sense of loss that cannot be replaced. Though, I know my ancestors were brought from Africa it is also important to know which country and tribe you are a descendant from because this information is essential to understanding yourself. I know African-Americans have created a powerful culture that blends Africa and our experience in America but we are still missing a essential piece of our cultural puzzle by not knowing about the roots we have grown from. All Africans were and are not the same so by claiming “Africa” in general we miss something particular about who we are. Identity is the foundation of our development and without it we can be like boats drifting in the sea of a Western society that does not honor us and we can not honor and respect ourselves.