Some Thoughts on Christmas


Read this article in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

These are some thoughts in the narrative below, which was written under the pen name ʻIlikipau and published in Ka Nupepa Kuokoa on March 3, 1865. For today’s readers, here is Ilikipau’s story with the addition of glottal stops and macrons. For certain terms, the capital letters are retained. Note that the story is only two-thirds of the entire article.

“There are many who think of the day [Christmas], as a happy day, and a day for giving presents to friends, however, they [Apostles] agree that it is very clear that the Lord Jesus’s birthday is not on December 25. This is evident when examining the conditions of Palestine and of the shepherds who watched over their flock at night on the 25th day of December, and the cold of the surrounding cliffs of Bethlehem. In this land the sheep are released to roam the plains, with the shepherds observing the moon phases of the season, when approaching the end of October, the cold rains come and the animals are returned to the village.

“The fact that we do not know the exact date of the birth of the Lord Jesus is probably for the best since it would have prevented the apostles from knowing what to remember and be grateful for on this special day.

Photo: ʻO ka ʻahaʻaina Satunalio
ʻO ka ʻahaʻaina Satunalio – ka hoʻomaka ʻana o ke Karisimasa.

“All of the wise men agreed that Christmas Day fell within the fourth century following the birth of Jesus. It originated in Rome and developed from a pagan festival known as ‘Saturnalia,’ a week-long feast conducted in the later part of December, with a great deal of debauchery and carnality. Servants were elevated to the status of lords, and gifts were exchanged between them. On the final day of the feast, children received statuettes. Christmas Day saw the restoration of these acts.

“Christmas Day was first celebrated in Syria and Palestine in the year of the Lord 376, which we know through the sermons of a famous man by the name of John, The Golden Mouth, namely Chrysostom. However, the date was not fixed until the year 400 after Christ, a time when darkness and evil befell the church congregations.

“Clement was an ancient man of righteousness. He chastised individuals who attempted to divine the day of Christ’s birth, declaring that the task was pointless and worthless because it was impossible to discern the precise day of the Lord’s birth.

“Therefore, if one does not want to celebrate Christmas, ‘Donʻt blame them.’

“‘Be steadfast in Christ who saved them (us).’” ILIKIPAU (Completely-Drenched)