Kamehameha Schools Maui Kahu Kalani Wong reminds us to worship Jesus the Christ-Child freely, and to welcome Him into our hearts, homes, schools, communities, and churches – not just during Christmas but all the time.
KS envisions its learners to be grounded in Christian and Hawaiian values. To celebrate the coming of Christmas, nā kahu o Kamehameha have created Hawaiian-focused Advent devotionals for haumāna and others to follow and share. This week’s devotional includes a message by KSM Kahu Kalani Wong, a pule and a keiki activity.
This is the season of Makahiki, a time of peace, feasting, and rejuvenation. This is marked with the arrival of Makaliʻi or the constellation Pleiades. It is the start of a new year for Hawaiians AND Christians, for not only is it Makahiki season but it is also the season of Advent or Ka Hikina.
Ka Hikina is the start of the church year and is marked by another star which guided the wisemen from the east. They came to see Herod and asked him, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:2) Herod’s priests and scribes remembered the prophesy in Micah and directed them to Bethlehem. It was to this quiet, unassuming place that the star led the magi.
When I think of Bethlehem, I picture a quiet little village, glimmering in the dark, a simple place with the potential for something great. This wahi pana is lifted up in the mele “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” the birth place of Jesus, the Christ Child.
O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.
This simple village didn’t seem to have the favor of the larger towns in the eyes of man, yet was highly favored in the eyes of the one who counted – Ke Akua. As it was prophesied in Micah 5:2 and fulfilled in Matthew 2:
Mika 5:2 – A ʻo ʻoe, Betelehema ʻEperata, ka mea ʻuʻuku i waena o nā tausani o Iuda, mai loko mai ou e hele mai ai i oʻu nei, ka mea e aliʻi ana i loko o ka ʻIseraʻela; ma mua mai kona puka ʻana, mai ka manawa kahiko loa mai.
Micah 5:2 – “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”
From this place, a Messiah was to come and it was He who the magi sought, so they followed the star. “After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11). Acting on faith, these wise men ventured to find a child, a keiki, whose makuahine Mālia, i hānau iho nei i aliʻi no ka poʻe Iudaio, gave birth to The One who was born king of the Jews.
It’s interesting that as I read Matthew 2:1-11 for the umpteenth time, I only now noticed that it says he was BORN king of the Jews... not born to BE king of the Jews. There was no waiting, no replacement, no conquering of foes... he WAS king at birth. But better than being king, He was Emmanuel, God with us, to be the one who came to be our Messiah, our Savior. The magi recognized this and fell on their knees to worship Him.
Is that something that we still do today? Do we worship Jesus the Christ-Child and freely welcome Him into our hearts, our homes, our schools, our communities, our churches, not just during Christmas but all the time? Does Ka Lama E Ola Ai, The Everlasting Light, still shine brightly in our world or are there things that eclipse him and darken our world? Let’s put aside the things that distract us and have Ka Haku dwell in us today and everyday.
O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel
E Ka Lama E Ola Ai, be the light that shines over us. Brighten our days and our nights. Help us to fall on our knees and worship you always. Let the season of Ka Hikina be a time of spiritual renewal for us. Guide us always. Ma ka inoa o ka Makua, A me ke keiki, A me ka 'Uhane Hemolele. ʻĀmene.
A star led the magi to Jesus. Have your parents take you to a spot that overlooks your city at night and look at the night sky. Do you see a star to stands out? Do you see Makaliʻi? Talk about how “O Little Town of Bethlehem” might describe your kauhale. Pule over it for Ka Lama E Ola Ai, The Everlasting Light, to shine over it always.