Christmas time is in the middle of my island’s rainy season. I have always found this amusing…a rainy season…as we get rain just about every day of the year. November is usually our rainiest month and this year was somewhat of an exception as many areas were considered to have “drought conditions”. I think this means it didn’t rain every single day. December is shaping up to be a rather chilly, damp month with the sun filtered by clouds and a cool north wind blowing, but alas no snow on Mauna Kea. My down blanket is on my bed at night permanently now. But, the Christmas spirit abounds. Our island is having another Christmas parade. We love parades. Every little town has their own parade–Kea’au, Pahoa, Honoka’a, Kamuela, Waikoloa, Kailua. Since flowers abound in Hawai’i, our parades are like a mini-Rose Parade with floats covered in floral coats of many colors. Santa always appears usually in a bright yellow fire truck or in an outrigger canoe. He wears his Hawaiian floral print board shorts and a lei. For our island keiki (children) this doesn’t seem at all unusual.
I am still wearing my little summer dresses and shorts, only occasionally opting for long pants. When the breezes blow the clouds from the sky it is still a warm 82 or 83 degrees though the nights are dropping precipitously into the 60’s! Hence, the down blanket. My Christmas flowers still haven’t bloomed. The firecracker tree hasn’t yet gotten its buds, the poinsettia still hasn’t gotten its red bracts. The hibiscus and yesterday, today and tomorrows (YTTs) are still prolifically blooming.
My church is decked out in poinsettia and pine and beautiful wreaths. Every year a group of us goes up the mountain to gather local foliage for wreath-making. We have a potluck, eating while the many talented hands weave the leaves and berries into Christmas lei that eventually decorate the walls of the church. I always look forward to this time of year. I love the bright colors, the candles that we light each Sunday…the candles for Hope, Peace, Joy, Faith and finally Love. We sing O Po Kamaha’o (Oh Holy Night) and Po La’i E (Silent Night). We dress in bright reds, whites and greens and wear flowers in our hair and lei about our necks. The lights on the tree twinkle and the breezes blowing through the windows threaten to topple the plants. It is a joyous time of year. Our kahu reminds us that every day should have the feelings and thoughtfulness of Christmas. We need to face every day with the joy of the season and not take anything for granted. We need to make the most of our time here on earth and have the faith to prepare for our future when our time of earth is apau.