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Advent 2023 week 4: Love

Dec. 21, 2023

The Advent season is upon us and traditionally many churches will light a blue or purple candle to symbolize the faith elements of hope, peace, joy and love. This school year’s Advent devotional series begins on December 1, 2023 and will end on Christmas Eve.

No ka mea, ua aloha nui mai ke Akua i ko ke ao nei, no laila, ua hāʻawi mai ʻo ia i kāna Keiki hiwahiwa, i ʻole e make ka mea manaʻoʻiʻo iā ia, akā, e loaʻa iā ia ke ola mau loa. – Ioane 3:16

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. – John 3:16

Kumu Hauʻoli Akaka
As a mākua and a kupuna today, this familiar paukū gula paʻanaʻau (golden Bible memory verse) is so much more meaningful to me now as I have become more mature and grounded in my faith.

I koʻu wā kamaliʻi, as a young child, it was during the season of Advent, just two weeks before Christmas and almost 50 years ago today (December 12, 1975), that my makuahine decided to leave our makuakāne. She packed up her four keiki and we left behind our home, our makuakāne and our livelihood on the mokupuni o Maui to relocate to Oʻahu. Our lives changed forever. We were a broken ‘ohana.

On Christmas Eve that year, as I sat on the lanai of my tūtū’s home in Pālolo Valley with tears in my eyes and gazing up at the heights of Maunalani at a beautiful mahina poepoe, a full and brilliant moon – Pō Māhealani perhaps - I quietly prayed to ke Akua to bless our broken ʻohana and to save us. I promised the Lord that if He did, I would be a good boy and honor Him all my days. I felt the warmth of His aloha in that bright moonlight that cold, dark night. I felt ka maluhia (peace) and ka manaʻolana (hope) that He heard my prayer and saw my broken heart at that season in my life.

Needless to say, our life as a new ʻohana was not always easy but ke Akua sustained and saved us in so many ways. Ua ola nō mākou! Today, in retrospect, we see nā pōmaikaʻi a pau (all the blessings) and nā hua maikaʻi (good fruits) of His aloha in our own ‘ohana where our keiki and moʻopuna  are thriving with hope for a brighter future.

Our spiritual theme this year, “Aloha Mua Ke Akua, E Aloha Aku Kākou” (As God Loved Us First, So We Shall Love), proclaims the truth that as ‘ohana and as a lāhui, e ola nō kākou, we can all find peace and salvation  through the endless, unconditional aloha o Ke Akua through Iesū (“God rescues, God saves”) in our world. He loves us so much that He sent His only Keiki Hiwahiwa i ko ke ao nei (into the world). He hears our lament and sees our hearts as our loving Makualani. It pleases Him when we reciprocate our love for Him as we aloha i kekahi i kekahi. No ka mea, he aloha ke Akua – for God is LOVE.

E pule kākou. E ka Makua o ka lani, e aloha mai ʻOe iā mākou, Kāu mau kini pua lei mamo. E hoʻomaikaʻi aku nō mākou iā ʻOe i loaʻa ke ola mau loa ma o Kāu Keiki Hiwahiwa ʻo Iesū Kristo. Ma Kona inoa hemolele mākou e pule ai. ʻĀmene, ʻāmene, ʻāmene.

Kahu ʻŌpio Kaʻōiwikapuokalani Jeong, KS Hawaiʻi Ka Papa Onelauʻena Class of 2024

It is a feeling many know all too well. The desire to know what is under the Christmas tree. The anticipation is all about the wait! The Bible reminds us that God’s people were waiting for God’s perfect gift for us. The birth of Jesus was so well planned out by God, that not only were all the prophecies fulfilled, but God’s Son, Jesus, brought us another gift, salvation for everyone. What a blessing for all!

In my own life, there have been times when I’ve been impatient to see my blessings. This resulted in not aligning myself with God's timing. But once I realized the importance of the wait and truly living in the divine presence of God during the wait, it became so much easier and fulfilling knowing that God has so much more planned for me. So, embrace the wait which may hold both joy and pain. Yet, remember that the blessed gift of Jesus was worth the wait.

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