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Consistent Life publishes Peace & Life Connections, a weekly one-page e-mail newsletter featuring related news and events, member group activities, and consistent life quotes.

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Peace & Life Connections Index

693 - Peace & Life: Holiday Issue - Kwanzaa - December 15, 2023

Note: our latest blog post is The Kate Cox Case in Texas

Because it involves something active in the news that so many have questions about, it will remain up until January.

As usual, this is the last issue of the calendar year, and we skip the next two weeks. The next issue is scheduled out January 5.

Holiday Masthead with candle and text Holiday Issue 2023 Theme Kwanzaa

The name Kwanzaa comes from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” meaning “first fruits of the harvest."

Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration starting the day after Christmas. Its roots are in the 1960s Civil Rights movement. From the perspective of consistent-life principles, it serves as an effective opposition to racism. Except it would be fairer to put it more positively: it’s a celebration of African-American heritage, also commonly celebrated in the Caribbean, and encouraged for all people of African descent, especially in the African diaspora.

It's a cultural celebration rather than a religious one, so it can be added by Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc., to their religious celebrations. Those preferring a secular approach can observe it as well. It can also be celebrated by those who don’t share the heritage as a matter of ancestry, though we all share and respect the heritage as part of American culture.

The "Kinara" is a candle holder for the seven candles, each of which stands for a special meaning. The black one in the middle symbolizes the African people. The red ones stand for principles involving struggle. The green ones stand for the principles about the future and hope that comes from the struggle. Each day focuses on one of the principles.

All the principles, of course, are ones that are essential to and advance the cause of nonviolence, peace, and life.

Googling Kwanzaa will bring a wealth of websites that cover far more than will be mentioned here with more history and ideas of how to celebrate; it involves far more than candles!

Kwanzaa symbol for unity
Umoja (Unity)

Umoja (Unity)

To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race

Black candle in the middle.

Kwanzaa candles with center black candle lit

Kwanzaa symbol for Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)

Red candle - struggle

Kwanzaa candles with 2 candles lit

Kwanzaa symbol for Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)

Green candle – hope

Kwanzaa candles with three candles lit

Kwanzaa symbol for Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)

Red candle - struggle

Kwanzaa candles with 4 candles lit

Kwanzaa symbol for Nia (Purpose)
Nia (Purpose)

Nia (Purpose)

Green candle - hope

Kwanzaa candles with five candles lit

Kwanzaa symbol for Kuumba (Creativity)
Kuumba (Creativity)

Kuumba (Creativity)

Red candle – struggle

Kwanzaa candles with six candles lit

Kwanzaa symbol for Imani (Faith)
Imani (Faith)

Imani (Faith)

Green candle – hope

Kwanzaa candles with seven candles lit


Postage Stamps

The U.S. Post Office honors Kwanzaa with a variety of beautiful official postage stamps: A sampling:

black family with Kwanzaa candles

black woman with Kwanzaa candles

black family lighting Kwanzaa candle


Some of our blog posts on consistent-life opposition to racism:


This is a list of holiday editions of our weekly e-newsletter, Peace & Life Connections.

In 2022, the topic was the Christmas Truce of 1914, when World War I soldiers up and down the line treated each other as friends rather than enemies for the holidays.

In 2021, there was a somber topic, but one appropriate to the season: the Massacre of the Innocents, and its role in quotations and art that oppose massive violence of all kinds.

In 2020, given what was most on people’s minds at the time, we covered Pandemics Related to Christmas.

In 2019, we showed Christmas as a Nonviolent Alternative to Imperialism.

In 2018, we detailed Strong Women against Violence – Connected to the Holidays.

In 2017, we covered Interfaith Peace in the Womb.

In 2016, we discussed how “The Magi were Zoroastrians” and detailed how good the Zoroastrians were on consistent-life issues. The ancient roots of the consistent life ethic run deep!

In 2015, we had a list of good holiday movies with consistent-life themes – check it out for what you might want to see this season. We also had information on Muslim nonviolent perspectives.

In 2014, we offered a quotation from a lesser-known Christmas novella of Charles Dickens and cited the treatment of abortion in the Zoroastrian scriptures.

In 2013, we shared several quotations reflecting on Christmas.

In 2012, we had a couple of quotes showing the pro-life aspects of two prominent Christmas tales: A Christmas Carol with Ebenezer Scrooge, and the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. We also quote from John Dear about Jesus as peacemaker and Rand Paul about the 1914 spontaneous Christmas Truce; he then related it to the culture of life.

In 2011, we covered the materialism-reducing “Advent Conspiracy" and offered two pieces of children’s art: a 1939 anti-war cartoon called “Peace on Earth,” and the anti-war origins of “Horton Hears a Who,” whose tagline – “a person’s a person, no matter how small” – is irresistible to pro-lifers.

In 2010, we showed “It’s a Wonderful Movement” by using the theme of what would happen if the peace movement and the pro-life movement hadn’t arisen. We also had quotes from Scrooge (against respect for life) and a Martin Luther King Christmas sermon.

Responses/News Tips/Questions to share are all welcome.


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