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Kwanzaa is an African American celebration of family, community and culture. It begins the day after Christmas through New Year’s Day observing seven key principles derived from an African philosophy over the seven days.

The sixth principle is CREATIVITY or Kuumba (Swahili)
Its focus … “To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.” — http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org

Creativity, the process of illumination and innovation whereby one may passionately generate, develop and transform ideas into value. Creativity sparks moments of insight and engineers productivity. Creativity is enhanced through inclusiveness, collaboration, sharing of information and participatory engagement. When we welcome and open the door to creativity, innovation and motivation is inspired. People feel their input, contribution and ideas are valued and useful. The status quo, group think and lack of support are hindrances to creativity. At its best, creativity produces a synthesis of design, symphony, storytelling, play, empathy and meaning. (Daniel Pink, “A Whole New Mind”)

In whatever realm of living, when we are able to be creative (and everyone is creative in some way), we ‘use our strengths in the service of something larger than ourselves.’ That’s what Kingdom building is all about. Whether ministry, teaching, evangelism, or outreach, it is all about using our creative strengths to make something or someone greater.

We all have the ability and opportunity to use our creativity for the betterment of our community. The threshold of a new year is a perfect time to consider how we may best use our creativity in new ways, new areas, or with new people. The new year is an opportunity to recreate ourselves into whomever we desire to be or whatever we desire to do. It may require some growing pains, some shedding of old thought processes, behaviors, and relationships, but that’s what transformation is all about. When we’re enlightened to possibility and the illumination takes place, we can really see the value of who and what God has creatively inspired within ourselves and others.

In 2014, my prayer is that you will let your creativity spill out and flow into new adventures and discoveries of an abundant life in God.