Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Diocese of Honolulu's display "Santa Would Go"

In a few hours Hawaii will celebrating the birth of the Savior of the World!

When I was a little girl, Christmas was a magical time.  A white Christmas was not unusual on the east coast.  We would be surrounded by family, warmth and good food.  People became friends as we all wished each other "Merry Christmas or Feliz Navidad!"

It was right after Thanksgiving that the Christmas decorations went up.  There would be lights on the front porch and living room windows, red and green paper chains decorated the doorways, silver and gold garland lined the banister.  Sometimes there was even a real tree to decorate, both inside and out!  But even the artificial trees we had were fun to decorate.  We also took special care to create a nice space for the Nativity set.  It was later as an adult who finally took more interest in her faith that I realized the Christmas decorations needed to wait until closer to Christmas.

It was then that the special Advent season would really be appreciated as a preparation for the Christ child. We made more attempts at sacrifices and mortifications.  We decorated with special care, the Advent wreath, with royal blues and purples.  We filled the Advent calendar drawers with slips of papers instructing us on which act of kindness to perform.  It was sad to think of how much we missed out growing up, in not celebrating the liturgical season of Advent.

When I was a child there were the Christmas carols we sang and listened to, both religious Christmas carols and secular Christmas songs.  Most of our favorite carols were taught in our public school:  Silent Night, O Christmas Tree, Joy to the World, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Angels We Have Heard on High, We Three Kings, are just a few of the Christmas carols we sang in school.  We learned the fun ones by listening to the radio as well as in school:  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and a personal favorite, Up on the Housetop.

It was a simpler time a few decades ago.  Children weren't burdened with maybe offending someone.  The children at our public school were mostly Christians and Jews.  The Jewish kids sang the Christmas carols and the Christian kids sang Hanukkah songs.  It was a fun learning experience. Somehow our difference had a way of bringing us closer together.

It is therefore such a shame that today's public school children are being cheated from experiencing the magic of Christmas.  It is tragic that they are not taught whose birthday it is we are celebrating.  Someone so important that it became a national holiday.

In Honolulu, the city council decided it was not appropriate to celebrate Christmas as it may offend someone who didn't believe.  The Christmas parade was changed to Honolulu City Lights parade.  It was offensive to put up a nativity but organizations/churches could enter a special lottery.  If they was lucky enough to be selected and they wanted to put up a nativity, one could be erected.  However, there had to be a disclaimer that it was not paid for by city funds.  Imagine that...  Luckily, the Diocese of Honolulu won a lottery slot this year.  It is a beautiful display of Santa Claus kneeling before the Christ Child.

Which brings me to the reason for the post.  The other day, we watched a movie on Netflix.   Last Ounce of Courage is an inspiring movie about the true meaning of Christmas and more importantly, religious freedom.  So if you want to watch an inspiring movie this Christmas, be sure to watch it with your family and friends.  It is available streaming from Netflix.

From our family to yours,

We wish you a very blessed and Merry Christmas. May God bless you abundantly!

With much aloha,