Today, the day after Christmas begins the celebration of Kwanzaa. I’m not sure who thought that Christmas should only be devoted to one day and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa both are stretched out over multiple days. I wanted to talk about Kwanzaa today because of what it symbolizes for us today as we’re looking towards a new year.
“The seven principles of Kwanzaa — unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith — teach us that when we come together to strengthen our families and communities and honor the lesson of the past, we can face the future with joy and optimism.” President Bill Clinton
We’ve experienced a lot of division over the past year. It’s been a challenging year for just about all of us as we watched planes go down and disappear, children get killed and kidnapped, serious illness break out and personal issues and divisions come to light. I don’t have all the answers but I do know that that’s not the world I want to live in if I have anything to say about it.
I’d much rather live in a world that understands the 7 principles of Kwanzaa. To be responsible for our collective future, one that supports each of us and doesn’t make us dread waking up in the morning. It’s a big dream and won’t happen overnight, but the only way to make it a reality is if we start taking action today.
I’m looking forward to wrapping up 2014 with you in the coming week and stepping into 2015 as well. I’m not sure what the new year will hold but I have hope and confidence in each of us that we’re big enough, strong enough, brave enough and smart enough that we’ll be able to plan and create a future that makes the best use of the abundance of resources and blessings we have.
But for the Kwanzaa message today, what principle do you need to work on most? Each of them come with their own challenges, and no one is perfect so we’ll never completely live up to their requirements. I think one of the ones that’s hardest for each of us is not a principle but something President Clinton said: that we face the future with joy and optimism. Will you choose that for this upcoming year with me?