As I said in the first Christmas post, I was unsure how Christmas is received here on the Hawaiian islands. But as our trip progressed I saw Christmas decor splashed everywhere, especially unusual Christmas trees.
The very first one we saw as we deplaned in Honolulu and made our way to baggage claim seemed terribly Hawaiian but not too pretty. After that we began seeing trees and lights everywhere decorated in multitudes of ways. What I have here is just a sampling of course but the feel of Christmas surrounded us.
Being without a car, we traveled by shuttle, bus, van and uber. Each time we met beautiful, friendly people, sometimes Hawaiian, sometimes not. Most were playing subdued Christmas songs quite Christian in nature.
So I asked our Samoan shuttle driver if he was a believer. . . His grin said yes before he uttered a sound. He asked how Could I tell? I said “There was just a loving joyful spirit about you and the music was a big clue since it wasn’t typical Christmas music about Santa.” He told me he plays this music on purpose to glorify the Savior. We wished him blessings and said we’d see him again in glory someday to which he flashed a bigger smile.
The next day, DK (my husband) and I took a van tour to the North shore of Oahu where the big surfing competitions are this time of year. Our driver was an older Hawaiian man named Ace. He drove us to the Bonzai pipeline where DK got some amazing surfing shots. We rode bike along the shore area and saw incredible homes owned by famous surfers and wealthy residents. We shopped in lazy little towns and hiked in the magnificent Waimea Valley sanctuary.
While we were off enjoying these extraordinary excursions, Ace was parked in a peaceful spot eating rice and fresh Ahi tuna. He enjoyed feeding the feral chickens and relaxed until our pick up time.
Ace added two additional stops for us to see Giant Sea Turtles in a secluded cove and then a stop to the Dole plantation free of charge. (The Dole whip is awesome by the way.) His jolly generosity made the day a delightful highlight.
Ace was willing to drop us off separately at two different locations not on his route so we could make connections. Sure he may have wanted a better tip but so does every other driver. His kind attitude made it a pleasure to tip him well. So we ended up being the last people on his van. He unabashedly began telling us about his church and what turned his life around.
While visiting a church some years back, the Pastor said “What your kids hear you say, they will replay”. Ace went home and couldn’t,t stop thinking about that phrase. WHAT YOUR KIDS HEAR YOU SAY THEY WILL REPLAY. He knew his words could be harsh and course so he went back to the church the next week and asked Jesus to change him. He said “he’s never been the same.”
Our hearts were full as we exited his van and said “MaHalo” (thank you) and blessings. I could hear Hawaiian ladies nearby in a retail store singing as they worked: they sang “This is the Day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” My heart was overflowing at this point because not only is Christmas alive and well in Hawaii by decor and music but so is the Lord of Christmas through HIS rejoicing people! Let us all rejoice and be glad in Him this Christmas season wherever we are!
Shine on. . .