Christmas had simple origins
As many of our island families prepare their homes for the sweet smells of the holiday season, I am reminded of one specific holiday season in my family. I was 10 years old when my parents moved us from Waimanalo, Oahu, to Kalapana, Hawaii.
We moved into a small, two-bedroom country house with our family of eight. Besides the two bedrooms, the house had a small kitchen with a kerosene stove and refrigerator. There was no indoor plumbing, so washing and restroom facilities were located in a separate building. We had no public running water; instead we had a water tank. It was a simple life.
The holiday season celebrated in the country was also quite simple for our family. We did not have much in financial means, but what we did have was significant: a small Norfolk tree decorated with popcorn garlands, candy cane ornaments, as well as other crafted ornaments my mother made for us out of lau hala leaves.
Mom was quite a seamstress. She saved the cloth rice sacks to make the boys surf shorts and patched aloha shirts. The girls had aloha print skirts made, and pine seed necklaces. Simple gifts made out of love.
Those days are past now. Today, gifts are high tech and cost much. Shoppers are found standing in long lines before stores open, just so they can get their hands on an automated Elmo or a new version of an Xbox video game. Not so simple.
This holiday season started with an observance of a simple stable, a simple manger, simple shepherds and a simple family.
Let us take a moment and remember the simple things of life this season, and appreciate all that we have and all that we can share.
The Rev. Richard K. Kamanu is the kahu mau of Kaumakapili Church in Palama.