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In “Reflections on Pō La‘i E,” Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Kahu Sherman Thompson (left) reminds us to slow down during this Advent season and to allow the hope of Christmas and God’s pure light pierce any darkness and let calmness and brightness prevail. Sing along with KSK Assistant Kahu Barrett Awai (right) in the video below, as he shares the hīmeni, "Pō La‘i E" – Silent Night.

Advent Week 2:  Reflections on “Pō La‘i E” – Silent Night

Dec. 7, 2018

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 KSK Kahu Sherman Thompson, a pule and a keiki activity.I

It is cold, blustery outside and the stars have not yet pierced the clouds as I write this Advent devotional proclaiming the coming of God into the world – the coming of God into the world as the Baby Jesus. There is hope. 

As we continue to journey through this time of preparation celebrating Christ’s birth, let us take a moment to pause from our busy schedules to reaffirm God’s promise to come again in glory in Iesū!

Our theme this Advent week is taken from the translation of the hymn, “Silent Night, Holy Night,” in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi known asPō Laʻi Ē” by the Rev. Stephen Desha Sr. (1859-1934).  Although a native of Maui, he became a noted pastor of Nāpoʻopoʻo Church and Haili Church on Hawaiʻi island over the years, and a noted authority on things Hawaiian. He was uncle to noted composer and musical matriarch Helen Desha Beamer.

While we all wish for moments of tranquility and quietness expressed in poetic expression in Pō Laʻi Ē on the night of the miracle of incarnation (Iesū i kou hānau) to the proclamation of the hope of redeeming the world (Hānau ʻia Kristo ka Haku), we often find ourselves in frantic visits to the shopping malls or grocery stores – plans going awry preparing for Christmas. We have this picture of what Christmas is supposed to be like, but in reality it is often times far from “maluhia, mālamalama.” 

Advent is a time to slow down! 

It’s a time to remember what matters most. It’s a time to give gifts yes, but also to give of ourselves. It is a time to wrap presents, but also to be present to others. It’s a time to prepare our homes to welcome ‘ohana and malihini, but also a time to prepare our hearts to encounter Jesus again. 

When was the last time your encountered Jesus during Advent? “Keiki hiwahiwa aloha e.” While we all can agree that Christmas is a wonderful time of year, it really seems as the 25th of December approaches every shopping trip, every search for parking and traffic encounter, every gift exchange, every get-together, brings stress to a higher level.

This Advent, will you affirm with me these reminders?

  • Holiness isn’t measured by our perfection, it’s measured by “how” we love.
  • By accepting God’s unconditional love, we become capable of showing that same love to others.
  • Realize that God’s power can transform any of us into the best version of ourselves.
  • Finally, is it the spirit of the world, or the spirit of God that influences us?

Allow the hope of Christmas as in God’s pure light pierce any darkness and let calmness and brightness prevail because Christ, the Savior is born! (Hānau ʻia Kristo ka Haku!)

E ke Akua mana loa, ka mea i hana i ka lani a me ka honua. Eia hoʻi mākou, kāu poʻe kauā nei, ke hoʻomaikaʻi a hoʻonani aku nei iā ʻoe. Mahalo i kēia lā hou, ka hanu ola, a me nā mea a pau no ka pono o ko mākou noho ʻana. E hāʻawi mai i ka ʻike, ka naʻauao, a me ka ikaika i loko o kā mākou mau ha‘awina. Nāu nō e kiaʻi, mālama, a hoʻopakele mai iā mākou a me ko mākou mau ʻohana nō hoʻi. Ma ka inoa o kāu keiki hiwahiwa o Iesū Kristo, ʻĀmene.

Almighty God, who created heaven and earth. Here we are, your servants, praising and glorifying You. Thank You for this new day, the breath of life and all our needs for which You provide. Grant us wisdom and strength in all of our duties. Guard and protect us and our families. In the name of Your precious Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Are you able to imagine what it was like when Christ the Savior was born? 

Our hīmeni, “Pō Laʻi Ē” gives us a hint of what the night was like – everything was calm and bright. If you went outside at night to gaze upon the sky, what would you see?  Nā hōkū (the stars)?  Nā ao (the clouds)?  Perhaps ka mahina (the moon) glimmering above?  Would it be maluhia (calm) and mālamalama (bright)?

Compare the surroundings of the night sky with the description in the hymn, “Silent Night, Holy Night” that is translated into Hawaiian as “Pō Laʻi Ē.” The English of the song says that “All is calm, all is bright.” The heavens proclaimed such calm and bright on the night to announce the Savior’s birth.

Do you think this calmness and brightly lit sky radiates a sense of awe and peace at the same time? Ask your ‘ohana to gather with you at night to gaze upon the night sky and ask them if they are able to sense calmness and brightness – that radiates hope and peace because Christ was born for us. Ask your ʻohana to pray together this simple pule: 

E pule kākou. Mahalo e ke Akua. Thank you Lord for coming to us as Kristo ka Haku Hoʻōla, Christ the Savior.  Haleluia!  ʻĀmene. 

You could even hīmeni, “Silent Night, Holy Night,” or the Hawaiian translation, “Pō Laʻi Ē” together as an ‘ohana, adding simple hula hand motions too!

Advent Week Two Mele “Silent Night,” performed by KS Kapālama Assistant Kahu Barrett Awai and directed by KSK senior Ryan Gante, Jr. under the guidance of KSK Media Specialist/Instructor Leah Kihara.

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