Celebration Of Light Produced by the Office of Interfaith Chaplaincy
Welcome 6th Annual Celebration of Light Opening remarks Andrea Thompson McCall, interfaith chaplain
The Birth of Baha’u’llah The Baha’i celebration of the birth of the prophet and founder of the Baha’i faith, sometimes called “Glory of God, or “Light of God.”
On November 12, Bahá’is around the world celebrate the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the prophet-founder of the Bahá’i faith. Bahá’u’lláh means “Light of God” - Bahá’i meaning “follower of the light.” The central theme of Bahá’u’lláh’s message is the unity of humanity. He has said, “So powerful is the light of unity, that it can illuminate the whole earth.” The Birth of Baha’u’llah
The Birth of Baha’u’llah This reading is from the Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the eldest son of Baha’u’llah: “ …This century—the century of light—has been endowed with unique and unprecedented glory, power and illumination… “Behold how …[candles of] light [are] now dawning upon the world’s darkened horizon. The first candle is unityin the political realm, the early glimmerings of which can now be discerned. The second candle is unity of thought in world undertakings, the consummation of which will ere long be witnessed. The third candle is unity in freedom, which will surely come to pass. The fourth candle is unity in religion which is the corner stone of the foundation itself, and which, by the power of God, will be revealed in all its splendor. The fifth candle is the unity of nations—a unity which in this century will be securely established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves as citizens of one common fatherland. The sixth candle is unity of races, making of all that dwell on earth peoples and kindreds of one race. The seventh candle is unity of language, i.e., the choice of a universal tongue in which all peoples will be instructed and converse. Each and every one of these will inevitably come to pass, inasmuch as the power of the Kingdom of God will aid and assist in their realization.”
Christmas The Christian celebration of Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, in Judea, about 3 CE. He was a descendant of the great King David of Israel and seen as the heir to David’s eternal throne. He is proclaimed in the Bible as the Messiah, or anointed one of God.
Christmas As many of us know, Christmas in America has a variety of meanings. In the Christian faith tradition, the season of Christmas is that time when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, who would become the Christ, the Savior. Christians believe that God incarnated into humankind bringing a message of love, justice and peace. Jesus’ humble birth reminds us that it is in the poor, the outcast, the suffering that we are most aware of the love of God.
Christmas Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (I) Hark! the herald angels singGlory to the newborn king!Peace on earth, and mercy mildGod and sinners reconciledJoyful all ye nations riseJoin the triumph of the skiesWith the angelic host proclaimChrist is born in Bethlehem.Hark! the herald angels singGlory to the newborn king! (II) Christ, by highest heaven adoredChrist the everlasting lordLate in time behold him comeOffspring of the favored oneVeiled in flesh, the godhead seeHail the incarnate deityPleased, as man with men to dwellJesus, our Emmanuel!Hark! the herald angels singGlory to the newborn king! (III) Hail! the he’an born prince of peace!Hail! the son of righteousness!Light and life to all he bringsRisen with healing in his wings(mild he lays his glory by)Born that man no more may dieBorn to raise the sons of earthBorn to give them second birthHark! the herald angels singGlory to the newborn king!
Diwali Diwali is a five-day Hindu festival celebrated on the last days of one lunar year and the first days of the next. This year, Diwali was in November. The word “Diwali” means "rows of lighted lamps" and the celebration is often referred to as the Festival of Lights. During this time, homes are thoroughly cleaned and windows are opened to welcome Mother Lakshmi, goddess of wealth and prosperity.
Diwali On the third day, lamps are lighted in celebration of the New Year. The common practice is to light small oil lamps (called diyas) and place them around the home, in courtyards, verandahs, and gardens, as well as on roof-tops and outer walls. In modern times, candles are substituted for diyas and neon lights are substituted for candles. The lighted lamps symbolize knowledge and encourage reflection upon the purpose of each day in the festival.
Diwali Perhaps the most well known of the Indian festivals, Diwali is celebrated throughout India, as well as in Indian communities throughout the diaspora. Everywhere, it signifies the renewal of life with the celebration of the new lunar year, and it is common to wear new clothes on the day of the festival. It also is invariably accompanied by the exchange of sweets and the explosion of fireworks. Truly, Diwali is a Festival of Light!
Eid Al Adha The second of the Eid celebrations, Eid al Adha commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail to Allah. The observance ends the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
Eid Al Adha Eid al Adha celebrates the Muslim “Festival of Sacrifice.” It is the concluding act of the Hajj, the pilgrimage of Muslims to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Every adult Muslim is obligated to make the pilgrimage at least once in her or his lifetime if physically and financially able to do so. The hajj is the fifth of the required practices known as the Five Pillars of Islam. The others are: *Confession of faith in God and in the prophet Muhammad *Ritual worship five times daily *Giving of alms for the poor, and *Fasting during Ramadan Celebrated by Muslims whether making the pilgrimage or not, Eid al Adha commemorates the ransom with a ram of Abraham’s (Ibrahim’s) son Ishmael, whom God –Allah— had required as a sacrifice. As Abraham offered his son, Muslims offer sacrifices, mostly of sheep or goats, and give the roasted meat to the poor.
Eid Al Adha This reading from the Koran is found in the Sula entitled “The Light”: God is the light of the heavens and the earth. The semblance of His light is that of a niche In which is a lamp, the flame within a glass, the glass a glittering star as it were, lit with the oil Of a blessed tree, the olive, neither of the East Nor of the West, whose oil appears to light up Even though fire touches it not – light upon light. God guides to this light whom He will. So does God advance precepts of wisdom for men, For God has knowledge of every thing. The light is lit in houses of worship Which God has allowed to be raised, And His name remembered in them. His praises are sung there morning and evening.
Hanukkah The Jewish Festival Of Lights, an eight day commemoration of the rededication of the Second Temple in 165 BCE marked with successive lighting of eight candles in the Menorah.
Hanukkah • Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem by Judas Maccabee in 165 BC, after it had been re-taken from the defeated occupiers of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. In seeking to relight the sanctuary lamp, or menorah, for the rededication, the Macabees found they had only enough oil to burn for one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days, providing time enough to prepare more. Today at Hanukkah, the eight candles of the menorah are lit, one each night, commemorating the eight-day miracle. The Song Hanukkah Blessings highlights the celebration.
Hanukkah Hanukkah Blessings How lucky are we that we Have lights so that we can see Although the day is done What a miracle that a spark Lifts these candles out of the dark Every evening, one by one Until the end of Hanukkah, of Hanukkah With the jingle bells and the toys And the TV shows and the noise It’s easy to forget At the end of the day Our whole family will say These words for Hanukkah "Baruch ata Ado-nai, Elo-heinu Melech ha'olam, Asher kid'shanu b'mitzvosav v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Chanukah" Blessed are You, Hashem our G-d, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to Kindle the Chanukah light. We light the candles for Hanukkah, for Hanukkah We remember how Maccabees Fought so all of us could be free And so we celebrate On this festival of the lights There’s a joyful time every night Where we illuminate The candles of Hanukkah, of Hanukkah "Baruch ata Ado-nai, Elo-heinu Melech ha'olam, She'asah nisim la'avoseinu, bayamim ha'hem baz'man hazeh" Blessed are You, Hashem our G-d, King of the universe, Who has wrought miracles for our forefathers, in those days at this season. Hanukkah, Hanukkah!
Kwanzaa Kwanzaa, is a contemporary and uniquely African American cultural tradition. It was created in the 1960s by Dr. Maulana Karenga, out of the American Civil Rights movement and the desire of African Americans to reconnect with the values and traditions of their African ancestry. Kwanzaa celebrates seven principles, Nguzo Saba, symbolized by the seven candles on the Kinara, and affirming and nurturing the strength of African American individuals, families, and communities. These seven principles are explained in Seven Joyous Days: Celebrate Kwanzaa.
Kwanzaa Seven Joyous Days – Celebrate Kwanzaa Celebrate Kwanzaa, I want you to remember, These principles to live by to keep our people strong. Celebrate Kwanzaa, I want you to remember, These principles to live by to keep our people strong. Seven Joyous Days many festive ways Seven principles for each and every soul, Time to reunite, uplift all the rights Of the African American. Celebrate Kwanzaa, I want you to remember, These principles to live by to keep our people strong. Umoja, Umoja I want you to remember, Umoja means Unity, to keep our people strong. Kujichagulia, I want you to remember, Self-determination to keep our people strong. Ujima, Ujima I want you to remember, Collective work; responsibility. Seven Joyous Days many festive ways Seven principles for each and every soul, Time to reunite, uplift all the rights Of the African American. Ujamaa, Ujamaa, I want you to remember, Cooperative economics to keep our people strong. Nia, Nia I want you to remember, Nia means Purpose, to keep our people strong. Kuumba, Kuumba I want you to remember, Creativity to keep our people strong. Seven Joyous Days many festive ways Seven principles for each and every soul, Time to reunite, uplift all the rights Of the African American. Celebrate Kwanzaa, I want you to remember, These principles to live by to keep our people strong. Celebrate Kwanzaa, I want you to remember, These principles to live by to keep our people strong. Imani, Imani I want you to remember, Imani means Faith, to keep our people strong. I said, Imani, Imani I want you to remember, Imani means Faith, to keep our people strong. Seven Joyous Days many festive ways Seven principles for each and every soul, Time to reunite, uplift all the rights Of the African American. Celebrate Kwanzaa, I want you to remember, These principles to live by to keep our people strong. Celebrate Kwanzaa, I want you to remember, These principles to live by to keep our people strong.
Winter Solstice Pagans celebrate the Winter Solstice as the return of the Sun. Figuratively, the Sun Child is born from the Womb of Night. Light and dark are equal and the days will gradually become brighter.
Winter Solstice The Winter Solstice was known to the Ancient Celts as Yule, which literally means wheel. At this time of greatest darkness giving way to light, we are reminded of the turning of the wheel of the year. The Night of the Solstice is the longest night of the year. Since Samhain, the presence of the sun in the sky has greatly diminished. Now light and dark are equal. The sun reemerges. The Divine Child of the Sun is born out of the dark womb of the Night. From this night forth, the Sun Child will continue to grow and become more radiant. With his growth, the days become longer and brighter and we process toward Spring.
Winter Solstice Yule (Adapted from Kenny Klein) Amongst the oak and holly leaves The wren and robin sat between "Come", the wren croaked, "I shall sing A song of winter cold." "My brother is the far-flung crow The black death-watch upon the snow The swordless Horned One to him goes When Autumn sun wanes cold." "My Sister of Dark Night is queen The hag that lives the moons between Her womb is barren now of seed Her lover grey and old." Amidst the oak and holly leaves The robin silent sat between Until with sweet voice, calmly He began a merry song. "Long has my White-Crow Mother been With your brother, Black Winged Bran Until her belly stirs within As Yuletide sun grows strong." "And now at sunrise, silent stark, Between the days and the Winter dark Rekindled is The Fire's spark The Oak King sounds the horn." "In the forest's icy gleam There goes a shadow, swiftly seen, The holly and the oak between The Green Man is reborn."
Seven traditions Baha’i Christian Hindu Jewish Muslim African American Pagan Seven lights Lights of faith Lights of joy Lights of truth Lights of peace Lights of justice Lights of love Lights of hope Today we celebrate the Light
Light One Candle Light one candle for the Maccabee children In thanks their light didn’t die Light one candle for the pain they endured When their right to exist was denied Light one candle for the terrible sacrifice Justice and freedom demand Light one candle for the wisdom to know When the peacemakers’ time is at hand. Don’t let the light go out It’s lasted for so many years Don’t let the light go out Let it shine through our love and our tears. Light one candle for the strength that we need To never become our own foe Light one candle for those of us suffering May we learn so long ago Light one candle for all we believe in That anger not tear us apart Light one candle that binds us together With peace as a song in our heart Don’t let the light go out It’s lasted for so many years Don’t let the light go out Let it shine through our love and our tears. Don’t let the light go out It’s lasted for so many years Don’t let the light go out Let it shine through our love and our tears. What is the memory that’s valued so highly That we keep a lighting that flame What’s the commitment to those who have died We cry out they’ve not died in vain We have come this far, always believing That justice will somehow prevail This is the burning, this is the promise And this is why we will not fail Don’t let the light go out It’s lasted for so many years Don’t let the light go out Let it shine through our love and our tears. Don’t let the light go out It’s lasted for so many years Don’t let the light go out Let it shine through our love and our tears. Don’t let the light go out Don’t let the light go out Don’t let the light go out.
Thanks and Acknowledgements Keita Whitten Erica Tobey Michol Lynne Merrill Caitlin McCarthy Jeni Lloyd Bob Atkinson Evan Pillsbury Steffan Morin Allison Gray David Andreasen Rev. Shirley Bowen Rev. John Haslam Rev. Andrea Thompson McCall President Richard Pattenaude Joe Mailhot Dawud Ummah Terry Foster Lisa Richardson Aramark Anna Schwartz