Kamehameha Schools envisions its learners to be grounded in Christian and Hawaiian values. Nā kahu o Kamehameha – Brian Boshard, Kordell Kekoa and Kalani Wong – created weekly Hawaiian-focused Advent devotionals. Although designed with students in mind, they can also be used by families or individuals to celebrate the coming of Christmas.
“Ah, Manaola is finally here!” The soft, crackly voice on the other end of the phone was Kahu Abraham Akaka who was announcing the name of my newly born baby nephew – a name that Kahu chose for this long awaited new born, a gift from God sent for the purpose of returning the power of life and healing to our ‘ohana. “Manaola, the power of life, the power of healing. That is his name!”
I ran back to the delivery room to exclaim with joy the name of this beautiful baby that was only five minutes old—“Kahu said his name is the power of life, the power of healing for all of us.” “Manaola is his name!” “M-A-N-A-O-L-A, Manaola,” I said.
There was an amazing joy that prevailed. The grief of the loss of my brother was no longer with us. Manaola was finally here. There he was, in a swaddling soft white blanket and my dad was holding him. We went close to adore him and to welcome Manaola to the world, specifically to our family.
God presented this perfect little creature to us with his eyes open wide and a semi frown on his brow – sweet, smooth, soft chubby marshmallow cheeks and silky dark brown hair – a square face such as the Hewett moʻokuauhau would dictate – he wasn’t even crying; he just remained quiet – my heart was exploding with love. I observed my family – sister, dad, mom and myself – all of us were drowning in an overwhelming joy! We were delivered from our grief. We were consumed in love. Manaola was gifted to us to heal us and to give us life.
I imagine this experience to be the same for the shepherds that Christmas night. They came to see the baby Jesus and found him asleep on the hay. These shepherds, the same who were told of his name by the angels, observed and adored, and were completely taken by this beautiful, perfect little creature. This was the Christ, the manaola – the power of life and of healing that the prophets of our biblical past told of as the coming of the Savior, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, the King of the world!
I can only imagine the excitement and joy, the overwhelming love, all consuming, as they were amazed to see and welcome the baby Jesus to their family and to the world. I’m certain that they cried “Hosana!” as they praised God for what they were witnessing.
Christ is our manaola. He is our power of life and healing. Gifted to us as God’s only begotten son, we are consumed in His love every day. This beautiful baby with the humblest of all beginnings came to us to be the king in our life. The love that a newborn baby overwhelms us with is like the love that God has for each of us unconditionally.
To drown in the love of Christ is to know and understand that He is our power of life and healing. It is a love that is deep and soothing; warm and comforting; joyful and exciting; endless and great; amazing and infallible; forgiving and free!
When I equate that experience of Manaola’s birth night and the magnificence of the love that I felt for him, to that of Christ’s love for me and you, I am over-the-moon happy! Just thinking of it makes me shiver with happiness and excitement. To know and understand the love of Christ is to know that we are loved. You and I know the capacity we have to love and to be loved. We need to also understand in full that God’s love to us through His son, Jesus Christ, is greater than anything.
We celebrate Christ tonight as we sing Away in a Manger so that we are reminded that our manaola – our power of life and healing was born in a humble manger and lay asleep on the hay. We sing “Hosana Nui Iā Iesū” with the shepherds who cried, “Hosana” when they praised God for the coming of their Savior. We praise God on this Christmas Eve for His deep and abiding love sent to us as manaola – the power of life and healing.
STRATEGIC PLAN 2020
SP2020 is a five-year strategic plan that will guide Kamehameha Schools from 2015 to 2020. The plan marks a starting point toward KS’ Vision 2040, which envisions success for all Native Hawaiian learners.
This series of Advent devotionals supports Vision 2040 by instilling in haumāna and others the Christian and Hawaiian values embraced by KS’ beloved founder, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop.