Why I Celebrate Christmas – 6

… and not Kwanzaa.

In 1967, a man named M. Ron Karenga, created a day for African Americans to celebrate instead of Christmas.  Although born and raised as an American, he became a Marxist and humanist who was active in civil disobedience.  Karenga, who carries a felony conviction from his time with the Black Power movement, has been a professor of African Studies at a university in California.  He is the author of several books and is highly regarded among African Americans who feel the need to build pride in their national heritage.

All of this is fine, of course.  Not only does Karenga have the right to his beliefs, but he clearly has touched a need in the hearts of people like him.   We can certainly understand the need for a people taken from their homeland and heritage by force and for the sake of slavery to desire ways to reconnect with and establish an identity.

But in 1966, Karenga (whose birth name was Ronald McKinley Everett) began to promote a holiday just for African Americans.  His goal was to, “give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.”  (his words)  He believed, according to Wikipedia, “that Jesus was psychotic, and that Christianity was a white religion that black people should shun.”

Kwanzaa was designed to be an anti-Christmas.  Read the Wiki article linked above for yourself.  The information is freely available.

My background does not allow me to identify with the needs of people who think this way.  But I can say without hesitation that Christianity is not a white religion.  Jesus was not born in America or Europe.  He was not born to a traditional white family.  He did not come for white people.  Jesus came because God loved all people and wanted to give them a way to come to Him.

I believe that racism is sin.  I grieve for those who have suffered because of racism and bigotry.  I repent of and renounce any racism left in me.  I honestly believe that God loves all people and that the way of salvation through Jesus is available to anyone.

But Kwanzaa is not my day.  It does not reflect my heritage, nor does it reflect my faith.  If, in fact, it is an anti-Christmas, then I want nothing to do with it.  I celebrate Christmas because God showed His love for all of us by sending His Son.

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Filed under grace, heart, Theology and mystery

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