The holiday season is often associated with a time of warmth and family. This year, you may be celebrating Makahiki season, Yule time, Christmas or Hanukkah, but it is all woven together with feelings of peace and community. We wish you happy holidays in whatever traditions you are celebrating.
Makakahiki (fall/winter wet season) in Hawai’i, is dedicated to the god Lono as a time of peace. Traditionally war was not permitted, rest was taken from traditional farm work and games and festivities would ensue. Because Hawai’i rests close to the earth’s equator, Makahiki season is indicated not by equinoxes and solstices, but by the rising of the constellation Makali’i (or the Pleiades) from ~October to ~February. This time of year is a wonderful time to spend with your family, to learn and play traditional games, and to rest. (It might also be a good time to plan your garden for the upcoming year when Makahiki season comes to a close). Similar to Christmas or Yule, it is a time for peace, warmth, and family.
Each December we also consider the Christian story of Jesus’ humble birth. The travails of the Holy Family echo the stories of many of the families who find refuge at the emergency family shelter. In the story of Christmas, Mary and her husband Joseph were displaced by forces beyond their control. They were given shelter through the kindness of a stranger. Jesus was born not just among family, but surrounded by strangers. The difficulties faced by this family remain familiar in our world. All too often the weak and the powerless — especially children — are subjected to suffering and possible death as a result of politics and profit.
Last year, 470 keiki were forced to experience homeless on the Big Island because of lack of affordable housing. Almost half of those were under the age of five — the most critical ages for healthy brain development in children. Certainly building a better world involves ensuring that no child has to experience homelessness. A resilient world is surely one in which every family has a home. During this season of Peace, Joy, and Celebration we hope that you will join us in opening our hearts to the many families in need right now. Together we can ensure that every family is housed and that every child is safe, warm, and well fed.