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😁😂!
In the U.S. there are about 1,682,900 homeless and runaway youth-The National Coalition for the Homeless
“25 percent of former foster youth nationwide reported that they had been homeless at least one night within two-and-a-half to four years after exiting foster care.”-The National Alliance to End Homelessness
Number of homeless youth in NYC every night – 3,800.-Shelter of Peace
At 14-years old Sydia Simmons was kicked out into the streets of New York City by her alcoholic mother but today she is a wife, mother & founder of the Lost Angels Society. The purpose of the Lost Angels Society is to provide a safe space for homeless teens. Sydia knows first hand the difficulty of being homeless, especially in New York City and because she has overcome through her faith she wants to give back. On December 16, 2012 Sydia hosted the Lost Angels Society Benefit to give homeless youth a Christmas celebration. This benefit was supported by actress Uma Thurman, Superstar Singer Usher and many others. Sydia truly has a passion and compassion for homeless youth and an important message for the Church. In Isaiah 61: 3-4 it states: “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated;they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations”, Sydia truly fits the description above because she is rebuilding the lives of teens devastated by homelessness. What is unique about the Lost Angels Society is that it is founded by someone who experienced homelessness first hand.
In the video below Sydia shares her amazing testimony with power, honesty & grace.
For more information on the Lost Angels Society, the April 2013 Youth Conference and how you can assist please contact Sydia at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Guest Author Tracy Madlener (via SPICIE) The Homeless Hopeful: Homeless Youth Can Overcome! (greatpoetrymhf.wordpress.com)
- Bucks County Shelter For Homeless Youth Gets An Early Holiday Gift (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- Documentary shows another side of Windsor’s homeless youth (metronews.ca)
Today I got a sweet surprise when Mahogany over @ Crazy, Fun, Sexy Guide for Women nominated me for the, “Sunshine Award”! Her site provides free words of inspiration, bliss tips and video blogs that help women live a life of joy. Follow her on twitter: @CrazyFunSexy. I really appreciate Mahogany for thinking of me!
The Black Madonna can be found thoughout the world especially in Europe, but also in India, America and of course Africa. The Black Madonna represents motherhood, Mother Earth, Life, Death and Lady Wisdom(referred to in the Biblical book of Proverbs). The Black Madonna’s lap represents nurturing which is why many of her depictions show Jesus on her lap. Furthermore, she is a mother to the oppressed, marginalized and the poor which is best shown in the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Sadly many of these Black Momas were buried, hidden in the basements of churches and cathedrals or even “whitened”- ironically when they were whitened many European Christians would demand that she be painted black again. Some say Black Madonnas were blackened by candles burning nearby but some religious scholars attribute this theory to racism. There is proof that many Black Madonnas were created to be Black, but as the transatlantic slave trade picked up the Black Madonna was made in a white image so that European Christians could enslave, rape and dehumanize the Black woman without guilt. Today an interest in the Black Madonna has reemerged and my hope is that this will inspire Black women to look to the Black Madonna as a divine mirror reflecting the dignity, natural beauty, wisdom, love and power that we should display as Black women.
For more information on the Black Madonna read:
Return of the Black Madonna by Rev. Matthew Fox, Ph. D
The Magnificat or Song of Mary Luke 1: 46-55