Living here in Hawaii (on the island of Oahu), our traditions can differ from the rest of our mainland counterparts. Some things are very obvious; we won’t be building a snowman (unless you are on the Big Island of Hawaii and lucky enough to visit Maunakea), wearing our thick overcoats (although it is quite cold when the temperatures dip to a freezing 65 degrees), or enjoying hot cocoa by the fireplace (a fire pit might be used on occasions). Traditions that we all share are Christmas trees, Christmas presents, and Christmas dinners; but are these traditions enough to keep Christ in Christmas?
My kids and I attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. We enjoy hearing the Gospel about the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s something we look forward to every year and with my children all grown, I always say a prayer and give thanks to God for having them home during Christmas.
We should always remember that the gift of giving is not always materialistic. Jesus sacrificed for us so that we will be able to join Him in Heaven. My children and I make sure that we think about others during Christmas. It could be something as small as making sandwiches for a homeless shelter or visiting a nursing home. Our favorite thing to do is Christmas caroling with our fellow parishioners. We visit different homebound clients and the smiles on their faces are priceless!
In the Philippines, there’s a Catholic tradition called Simbang Gabi. At our church, this celebration is called Misa De Gallo. This Christmas tradition is celebrated around the world, with each country celebrating differently. It is a 9-day celebration that starts on December 16th and ends on December 24th.
Hawaii is a melting pot with so many cultures and religions enjoying Christmas, each bringing their unique way of praising God during this most holy time. No matter how we each celebrate Christmas, we should always remember that Christmas is all about Christ and we are celebrating His life.
Flora Yee, Shazzy Fitness guest blogger and certified Shazzy Fitness instructor, works with autistic kids as an educational assistant. She teaches Shazzy Fitness at church and she is proud to say she is the only certified instructor in Hawaii! She is a single mom to three beautiful adult kids and one very spoiled dog. You can read more about Flora here.