This time of year after Christmas we black people may be greeted with a “Happy Kwanzaa” without really knowing what Kwanzaa is about. And sadly, that may be true of many of our fellow believers and churches that give up their space and time to honor this very spiritual yet Christless celebration. I wrote this post in response to the great number of Christians and churches that give time to a celebration whose creator hated Jesus Christ so much he created something meant as a substitute.
CHRISTIANS AND CHURCHES BEWARE!
This will be a brief summary of what Kwanzaa is about and why Christians and churches should have nothing to do with this pagan celebration created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Even an excerpt from his annual founder’s day message for 2015 shows his true intentions of this very deceitful celebration (see below). Pagan is not used lightly in describing Kwanzaa. As one reads in the description further down about the seven principles of Kwanzaa, Karenga even quotes from ancient African pagan religious writings such as the Husia and the Oda Ifa!
Kwanzaa is celebrated during a seven day stretch from December 26 with the final celebration ending on New Year’s day, January 1. Each day represents one of the principles of Kwanzaa called in Swahili the Nguzo Saba. The celebration itself is very festive and it brings families together complete with gift giving and feasts meant for royalty. But what is the true meaning of Kwanzaa and how should the Christian deal with it?
THE PAGAN PURPOSES OF KWANZAA
Starting with the seven principles of Kwanzaa which are the heart and soul of this celebration. I’ll list each and with a brief summary of as stated on Dr. Karenga’s annual Kwanzaa message for 2015 with italics showing Dr. Karenga’s meaning of the principle:
- Umoja (Unity) – teaches us the oneness of our people, the common ground of our humanity, the interrelatedness of life and the indispensability of family and community in our righteous togetherness in love, work and struggle.
- Kujichagulia (Self-determination) – reaffirms our right and everyone’s right to control our destiny and daily lives
- Ujima (Collective work and responsibility) – teaches us that we come into being, thrive and flourish in needed and principled relationships. And it teaches us that it is together that we must conceive and construct the good communities, societies and world we all want and deserve.
- Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) – teaches the value and practice of shared work and shared wealth, the right of people to their own resources and the ethical imperative of a just and equitable sharing of the good of the world.
- Nia (Purpose) – reminds us of the ancient ethical teaching in the Odu Ifa that we and all humans are divinely chosen to bring good in the world and that this is the fundamental mission and meaning, i.e., purpose, of human life.
- Kuumba (Creativity) – urges us to practice the ethical teachings of The Husia that put forth the concept of serudj ta, the moral obligation to heal, repair and transform the world making it more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
- Imani (Faith) – teaches us to hold tightly and firmly to the faith of our ancestors who taught us to respect each person, people and culture as a unique and equally valid and valuable way of being human in the world
These principles just listed may seen innocent enough but when Karenga’s breakdown of each principle is shown, one can see he has spiritual purposes that aren’t centered upon Christ, especially when he urges people to practice the pagan religious teachings of the Husia. These ungodly purposes are what bring this holiday into question when seen being practiced in Christian churches and homes. No matter if one exchanges Karenga’s meanings of the principles with a bible verse, the fact remains that the founder of Kwanzaa has a different intent!
KWANZAA LOOKS RELIGIOUS
With the claims of faithful Kwanzaa celebrants declaring that Kwanzaa is not religious or a religion, there are practices within this celebration that makes one wonder. Practices such as:
- Chanting of Libations – similar to praying in religions, and praying for the dead in African religions
- Kinara – Candle holder, very similar to the Jewish candle holder, the Menorah
- 7 candles – similar to Hanukkah’s candle lighting ceremonies
- Drinking of a unity cup – similar to drinking of communion
- Roll calling of dead ancestors names – from ancient (and some present) African religions
- Practice of seven principles to make each man, woman and child a better human being – value principles similar to having the Judeo-Christian 10 commandments and New Testament principles that make one a new man and woman. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Even Dr. Karenga in his yearly founder’s message on Kwanzaa, makes it clear that he intends for Kwanzaa not to be just a time of celebration but to introduce a “value system” to make people better. Not wanting to call it a religion but having religious practices within the celebration with spiritual purposes, how can one NOT call this an attempt at creating another religion? Here is another excerpt from Dr. Karenga’s founder’s message for 2015:
As we said in the ‘60s, the Nguzo Saba are a Black value system, a set of communitarian African values which aid us in grounding ourselves righteously and rightly, directing our lives toward good and expansive ends, and toward conceiving and bringing into being the good communities, societies and world we all want and work and struggle so hard to bring into being. We have not changed in this position.
“We have not changed in this position” indicates that Kwanzaa has basically been the same since its creation from the 60s. Dr. Karenga also wrote and he uses the words “grounding ourselves righteously and rightly.” Those are words generally used when speaking spiritually of ones self or people. And a “black value system?” One can not speak of a value system without speaking of a way of life!
KWANZAA IS A WAY OF LIFE, NOT JUST A CELEBRATION
Dr. Karenga had more in mind than just a cultural celebration for ALL to celebrate once a year. He created these principles to be practiced daily. Yes, he does intend for Kwanzaa to be a system for black people to better themselves as a people and community. So what if one doesn’t care what Dr. Karenga’s intentions are? The celebration itself represents another way of life, a life apart from Christ as the only way to God and the bible as the only values and principles we all need for life!
CHRIST IS THE ONLY WAY AND THE BIBLE IS OUR GUIDE BOOK, WE NEED NO OTHER!
The Kwanzaa practicing church and Christian must ask, “Why do we need Kwanzaa?” It’s one thing to have a cultural celebration, but a spiritual celebration? “Is Christ enough? Is the Bible enough?” The answer to those questions must be an emphatic YES and daddling in Kwanzaa’s godless principles and practices is no different than serving two masters.
So Christians beware, and please heed a spiritual principle found in our Bible that says:
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. Ephesians 5:11
For an in depth look into Kwanzaa, purchase my e-book, The Real Truth About Kwanzaa