Don't Forget Your  Holiday Essentials
Blessings to you!

As the holidays draw near, and time marches on, you may find that you've lost "that holiday feeling." Too often, tied up in the minutiae; the trivial details of the holiday, we miss out on the essence...the essential meaning...the principle meant to bless us. if you don't want to miss out on YOUR holiday on!
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The Essence of Kwanzaa
The word Kwanzaa comes from the phrase, 'matunda ya kwanza,' which means 'first fruits of the harvest' in Swahili. Kwanzaa is modeled on the first fruit celebrations of ancient Africa. It is now a celebration of African-American family, community, and self-improvement.
The 7 Prinicples of Kwanzaa
Umoja -- Unity
Kujichagulia -- Self-Determination
Ujima -- Collective Work and Responsibility
Ujamaa -- Cooperative Economics
Nia -- Purpose
Kuumba -- Creativity
Imani -- Faith
"We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color." Maya Angelou
The Essence of Hanukkah
Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is one of the most joyous times of the Jewish year. The reason for the celebration is twofold (both dating back to c. 165 BCE): the miraculous military victory of the small, ill-equipped Jewish army over the ruling Greek Syrians, who had banned the Jewish religion and desecrated the Temple; and the miracle of the small cruse of consecrated oil, which burned for eight days in the Temple's menorah instead of just one.  

"May the lights of Hanukkah usher in a better world for all humankind."
Author Unknown

The Essence of Christmas
Christmas Happy Thought Central
Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The word "Christmas" comes from "Christ-mass," the mass of Christ. It is a time of celebration of the Light brought to the world by Jesus, and the same Christ Light He taught is within each of us. 
"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas." Calvin Coolidge
Behind every holiday we celebrate lies a Divine Idea; a Spiritual Principle and purpose. The word "holiday" evolved by combining the words "holy" and "day," and the word "holy" relates to Oneness, wholeness, health. The purpose and essence of our holidays; our holy days, is to bring us to a place of wholeness, or Oneness with God...with all that is good.
Although we may express our "wholeness" in diverse ways, our essence is Oneness ...Oneness with God, and Oneness with each other. A look at the three examples shown of holidays shows clearly that each has the same, peace, community, and light.
Light is a critical part of the essence of the holidays above. Candles represent light as a primary part of the celebration. The candles of Kwanzaa represent its 7 principles, The Menorah candles remind us of God's miraculous presence and power, and Christianity the candles of the Advent Wreath and Christmas Candle, which call us to remember the Light of Christ, Hope, Peace, Love, Joy and our own spark of divinity within.
In the darkest nights of winter, for generations people before our time shared rituals and celebrations of the return of light, as Spring inches ever so slowly closer. Yet even the light that is coming with spring is but a symbol of enlightened consciousness.
In our world today much of the pain and suffering we experience is the result; the effect of unlightened consciousness...spiritual ignorance, or cause. The joy we experience at the sight of the candles we light is a soul memory of the way life is meant to be. We are reminded of the nature of our, provision, love and nuture...a day when every tear will be wiped away and death will be no more...a day of expressing the fullness of our potential; the gifts, talents and beautiful essence that we are. These are the Holiday Essentials.
You will not find your holiday essentials at the mall. You will not find them at the grocery store, wine shop or mailbox. They are not hidden in your ornament box. A friend or family member cannot wrap them in pretty paper and give them to you. You cannot find, buy, or be given that which is already yours. The essentials are in the essence.
Enjoy your food, your drink and gifts. Enjoy your family and friends. But first...light the candles of this holy season...the candles in your home and the candles in your heart.
Alicia Leslie
Spirit of Unity Church

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