Volume 4, Issue 51
December 27, 2019
THIS SUNDAY: December 29, 2019
First Sunday after Christmas

Chris Neumann (EM)
John Hanaoka (U)
Marge Akana (AG)

Mario Antonio (EM)
Joan Roughgarden, Mary M. Smith (R)
Alsonso Murrillo, Bara Sargent (U)
Janis Wright (AG)
Joshua, Raiden (A)
Vikki Secretario, Nelson Secretario (HP)

Taichi Hashizume Funeral Service
Saturday, January 4 th
8:00AM - 2PM
Church/Memorial Hall

Sermon on the Mount Bible Study
Tuesday, January 7 th
7:00 - 8:30PM

Ministry Council Meeting
Saturday, January 11 th
9:00 - 10:00AM
Memorial Hall

IWC Meeting
Saturday, January 11
10:00 - 11:00AM
Memorial Hall
Adult Bible Study on Weekly Gospel
Every Sunday, 9:00 - 9:30AM
Under the big tree

Sunday School
Every Sunday, 9:30 - 10:15AM
Memorial Hall

Aloha Hour
Every Sunday, 10:45AM - 12:00PM
Under the big tree

Monday Crew
Every Monday, 8:00AM
Church Office
Laundry Love
1 st & 3 rd Wednesday, 5:00PM
Kapa`a Laundromat

McMaster Slack Key Guitar and Ukulele Concert
Every Wednesday, 6:00PM

Daughters of the King
2 nd & 4 th Thursday, 7:00 - 8:00PM
Memorial Hall

Choir Practice
Every Thursday, 6:00PM
Choir Room
Join Us This Sunday For This Traditional Service
"Nine Lessons and Carols , also known as the  Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols  and  Service of Nine Lessons and Carols , is a service of  Christian worship  traditionally celebrated on or near  Christmas Eve . The story of the  fall of humanity , the  promise of the Messiah , and the  birth of Jesus  is told in nine short  Bible  readings or  lessons  from Genesis, the prophetic books and the Gospels, interspersed with the singing of  Christmas carols hymns  and  choir   anthems ."

Come join the All Saints' choir and congregation for this celebration!
True Meaning Behind the Lyrics

By Ace Collins
To many people, the lyrics of the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” seem strange beyond belief. The odd carol’s words might make one think it is a novelty song, in the vein of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” or “ My Favorite Things .” Though a host of modern internet sites and some magazine articles have tried to reduce “The Twelve Days of Christmas” to a little more than a silly Christmas carol, most scholars of the Catholic Church deem it a very important surviving example of a time when that denomination used codes to disguise their teachings. Originally a poem written by Catholic clerics, this song was transformed into a carol at a time when celebrating the twelve days of Christmas was one of the most important holiday customs. By understanding the meaning the clerics chose for their poem, the full impact of the tradition of the twelve days of Christmas can be understood.

The Context & History Behind "The 12 Days of Christmas"

Teaching the Catholic faith was outlawed in sixteenth-century England. Those who instructed their children in Catholicism could be drawn and quartered. Thus, the church went underground. To hide the important and illegal elements of their teaching, clerics composed poems that seemed silly to most people. But these verses were veiled works that taught the church’s most important tenets. “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is said to be one of these teaching tools.

Most people today believe that the twelve days of Christmas start on December 12th or 13th and run through Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. But in fact, the first day of Christmas is December 25th and the final day is January 5th. Thus, for hundreds of years the Christmas holidays didn’t begin until Christmas Eve and didn’t end until Epiphany.

For many Christians today, even the recognition of the twelve days of Christmas has been lost . . . for two reasons. The first is that when Epiphany lost out to Christmas as the day of giving gifts, many simply quit celebrating the twelve-day observance. The other reason is based more on the change in the fabric of culture than on overlooking the Christian holiday of Epiphany.

In ancient times, when most societies were rural, few people worked in the dead of winter. It was a time when many were spending long, dark days inside their homes, looking forward to winter’s chill giving way to the spring thaw. So devoting a dozen days to prayer, reflection, and attending church was not a huge undertaking. Yet with the coming of the Industrial Age and the regular year-round work schedules it brought, finding time to continue the activities that had been traditionally associated with the twelve days of Christmas became all but impossible for most people.

So the passing of the twelve-days custom probably had as much to do with “progress” as with anything else. As fewer and fewer churches and families participated in the tradition, it was all but lost. Yet in the obscure poem that was later turned into a popular carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” live on. And the twelve days described are actually a wonderful and complete picture of the Christian faith.

The “true love” mentioned in the song is not a sweetheart but the Catholic Church’s code for God. The person who receives the gifts represents anyone who has accepted Christ as the Son of God and as Savior. And each of the gifts portrays an important facet of the story of true faith.

The 12 Days of Christmas - True Meaning

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . a partridge in a pear tree.

The partridge in a pear tree represents Jesus, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on the first day of Christmas. Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge, the only bird that will die to protect its young.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . two turtledoves.

These twin birds represent the Old and New Testaments. So in this gift, the singer finds the complete story of Judeo-Christian faith and God’s plan for the world. The doves are the biblical roadmap that is available to everyone.
On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . three French hens.

These birds represent faith, hope, and love. This gift hearkens back to 1 Corinthians 13 , the love chapter written by the apostle Paul.
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . four calling birds.

One of the easiest facets of the song’s code to figure out, these fowl are the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . five gold rings.

The gift of the rings represents the first five books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch.
On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . six geese a-laying.

These lyrics can be traced back to the first story found in the Bible . Each egg is a day in creation, a time when the world was “hatched” or formed by God.
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . seven swans a-swimming.

It would take someone quite familiar with the Bible to identify this gift. Hidden in the code are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, and compassion. As swans are one of the most beautiful and graceful creatures on earth, they would seem to be a perfect symbol for the spiritual gifts.
On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . eight maids a-milking.

As Christ came to save even the lowest of the low, this gift represents the ones who would receive his word and accept his grace. Being a milkmaid was about the worst job one could have in England during this period; this code conveyed that Jesus cared as much about servants as he did those of royal blood. The eight who were blessed included the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . nine ladies dancing.

These nine dancers were really the gifts known as the fruit of the Spirit. The fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . ten lords a-leaping.

This is probably the easiest gift to understand. As lords were judges and in charge of the law, this code for the Ten Commandments was fairly straightforward to Catholics.
On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . eleven pipers piping.

This is almost a trick question, as most think of the disciples in terms of a dozen. But when Judas betrayed Jesus and committed suicide, there were only eleven men who carried out the gospel message.
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . twelve drummers drumming.

The final gift is tied directly to the Catholic Church. The drummers are the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles’ Creed. “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.”

So, just a silly song?

On the surface maybe, but in reality, a refreshing reminder of the essential elements of Christian faith. The twelve days of Christmas may no longer be a widely recognized holiday tradition, but the days were an important bridge that connected persecuted believers of the past with the whole story of God’s plan. In the complicated world of today, a trip back to the not-so-distant past when Christians celebrated the twelve days of Christmas would only enhance the meaning of Christmas for everyone.
Please enjoy this holiday classic by clicking the link below.
Ace Collins  is the writer of more than sixty books, including several bestsellers: Stories behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, Stories behind the Great Traditions of Christmas , The Cathedrals, and Lassie: A Dog’s Life. Based in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, he continues to publish several new titles each year. Ace has appeared on scores of television shows, including CBS This Morning, NBC Nightly News, CNN, Good Morning America, MSNBC, and Entertainment Tonight.

St. Michael’s is excited to present 
the 14 th annual All Angels Music Festival, February 7-9, 2020!

This year we’ve changed the name slightly from the All Angels Jazz Festival to the All Angels Music Festival, to reflect our commitment to diversifying the types of musical performances audiences can expect at the festival, although jazz will always play a special part. We’ve got the Lao Tizer Trio coming from Los Angeles, playing in their distinctive contemporary jazz blended style on Friday night, along with outstanding Honolulu saxophonist Jason Gay. On Saturday night DeShannon Higa, also from Honolulu, will open, showing off his amazing trumpet chops. Then, we have a very special treat: Spanish Flamenco, including traditional and jazz fusion flamenco, by Ricardo Garcia, coming from Spain, along with his wife, Julie Gunn, vocalist. They will be joined by Seattle-based flamenco dancer, Amelia Moore, and saxophonist Yuichiro Tokuda, coming from Japan. Both nights will also feature long-time festival favorites Matt Lemmler, Abe Lagrimas, Jr. and Darryl Miyasato, as well as the Sunday Jazz Mass, a 14-year tradition at St. Michael’s.  

This is one of Kauai’s best and most anticipated music events, and once again this year we are seeking avenues to present this gift to the community as well as cover all festival expenses. You can help us cover our significant costs by becoming a festival Sponsor, as an individual or a business. Sponsorship opportunities are:

SAINTS: $250
2 tickets to the Music Concert(s) of your choice
Mention in our Music Fest programs
ANGELS: $500
4 tickets to the Music Concert(s) of your choice
Mention and Logo in our Music Fest programs
8 tickets to the Music Concert(s) of your choice
Mention and Logo in our Music Fest programs

Please contact Deb Baumung to request more information and arrange to be a Sponsor for this important event. Mahalo!

Your sponsorship donation is tax-deductible.

Check out our festival line-up of incredible performers!
Please Note:
Laundry Love Team A is now scheduled for Jan. 15.

The recent church office printer problems are a reminder that not all technology works all of the time. The good news is All Saints’ has a backup in place to overcome our printer problem!

To access the online version on your smart phone or iPad:

  • Go to allsaintskauai.org
  • The last item under “Worship Services” is “Download e-Programs”
  • Click on this link to download the e-Program for use during the service.
  • See below.
As more of our congregation uses the e-Program, All Saints’ can print fewer service bulletins and use less printer ink and paper. As important as the cost savings is the reduced environmental impact. The production of printer ink and paper are a consideration as is the shipping of reams of paper when considering the carbon footprint of our service program. 

Let’s work together to create a more environmentally sustainable future for All Saints’.

-CeCe Caldwell for Environmental Stewardship
“You are the light of the world!
You are the light of the world!
But if that light is under a bushel,
It's lost something kind of crucial
You've got to stay bright to be the light of the world.”
— Godspell

These words, adapted from Matthew 5:14, remind us in a fun way that, although our light may be shining, “something kind of crucial” is lost if we don’t bring the light we have out into the world, for all to see, for the glory of our generous God and the building of the kingdom. 
This past year, I have seen that light demonstrated joyfully at All Saints’: in our worship, educational programs, care for our buildings and grounds, outreach to visitors, and a very successful search for our new rector, Kahu Kawika, who will be joining us in February. In addition we serve the wider community with ministries such as the Medical Equipment Loan Ministry and Kaua`i Laundry Love. 

I am overjoyed at the generosity of the people of All Saints’, because when we bring our light out into the world, we express our gratitude, confidence and willingness to take risks as agents of Jesus remaking the world. In making our light visible, we keep our salt flavorful, as Jesus puts it in these words from The Message: 

“Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.”

Indeed, our work, our prayers and our giving are all about making God’s flavors, colors, and love visible and available to all in our lives. And they are about our willingness to accept the challenge to stretch and grow, into our individual purpose, and into the mission of our church.
I ask all of you to reflect on the gifts you have received, and to consider how God is calling you to risk “flavoring” the world with your time, talents and treasure. I pray that we will join together to give abundantly to bring light into our lives and the world around us. 


Bill Caldwell
By now you should have received your pledge card and an invitation to support your Church with a pledge. If you have not received your Stewardship materials by mail, please contact Cami .

The in-gathering of pledges will be celebrated at both services on Jan. 5, 2020. Please bring your completed pledge cards to church that day.

Those who cannot make that service are welcome to mail back their pledges to All Saints Church at PO Box 248, Kapaa, HI 96746 or drop it off at the office.

Diocese of Newark Church Connects Local Students to Children with Disabilities in East Jerusalem

By David Paulsen
Posted Dec 20, 2019
Barbara Boehm, center, a parishioner from St. James Episcopal Church in Montclair, New Jersey, presents a letter from student employees at the church’s thrift shop to children at the Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre in 2018. Photo courtesy of AFEDJ

[Episcopal News Service] Student employees at an Episcopal church’s mission store in Montclair, New Jersey, are supporting children thousands of miles away through a campaign to raise money for an Anglican medical center in East Jerusalem.

St. James Episcopal Church runs a secondhand shop called Sky’s the Limit Thrift Store. It is staffed by local high school students with disabilities. St. James also for several years has partnered with the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem to support the families served by the Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre .

Last year, the Sky’s the Limit student employees sent a letter to the children at the medical center who are being treated for their own disabilities. This year, four of the St. James store’s employees wrote to the Diocese of Newark urging approval of a diocesan grant for the East Jerusalem facility’s Mother Empowerment Program. The program provides individualized support for mothers of children with newly diagnosed disabilities.

“It is very important that we help. That is the only way to make things better for everyone,” the student employees wrote in their letter.

The Diocese of Newark responded by awarding $4,000 from its Alleluia Fund , and the students donated an additional $1,000 from sales at Sky’s the Limit. St. James was able to offer another $5,000 thanks to a one-time gift to the church’s discretionary fund. The $10,000 is enough to pay for two mother-and-child pairs to attend the Mother Empowerment Program at the Princess Basma Centre.

The Montclair church’s connection to the Diocese of Jerusalem’s medical center has meant a lot to the students employed by the Sky’s the Limit Thrift Store, St. James parishioner Barbara Boehm told Episcopal News Service.

“It’s so great to see the excitement that it generates in them to be helping students half a world away,” said Boehm, who volunteers at the store on Saturdays and also serves as a trustee with American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, or AFEDJ .

And the Princess Basma Centre partly inspired the creation of the Sky’s the Limit Thrift Store two years ago, according to the Rev. Melissa Hall, rector at St. James. The congregation’s efforts to raise money in support of the children served by the Diocese of Jerusalem opened St. James to the idea of finding ways to serve children in its own community.

“The wheel keeps going around,” Hall said. “It’s really been remarkable.”

Support for the East Jerusalem medical center is spread across The Episcopal Church. The Diocese of Newark is one of nearly a dozen Episcopal dioceses that AFEDJ contacted this year as it worked to raise money for the Mother Empowerment Program.
Many disabled students served by the Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre are mainstreamed into the inclusive school where on-site therapies are available to them. Photo: Heidi Shott/AFEDJ

The program has three objectives: training mothers to provide therapy to their children at home, alleviating the stress of caring for a child with disabilities and building up mothers to become advocates for their families. AFEDJ notes that those objectives coincide with several of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals , established in 2015 to build on the global anti-poverty work promoted by the U.N.’s previous Millennium Development Goals.

The Episcopal Church and many of its dioceses had championed the Millennium Development Goals after they were created in 2000. Newark, for example, voted in 2004 to commit 0.7 percent of its annual operating income to ministries supporting the eight goals. When the United Nations shifted to its Sustainable Development Goals, Newark continued to set aside money for international outreach and distributed the money through its Alleluia Fund grants.

In addition to Newark, the dioceses of Maine, Massachusetts, Northern California, Olympia, Ohio, Rochester and Western North Carolina have committed money this year to the Mother Empowerment Program through their own grants aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. Education equity and gender equality are among the goals addressed by the program at the Princess Basma Center, AFEDJ says.

The facility, founded by the Diocese of Jerusalem in 1965, is a charitable rehabilitation center serving children with a range of disabilities, and it is known as a pioneer in treating children with autism from the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza.

Boehm, an art curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, said she first traveled to Jerusalem about five years ago on a work trip. While there, she took baby blankets to the Princess Basma Centre based on a request from AFEDJ. She brought back stories of the experience to her congregation at St. James.

“Everyone was just overwhelmed by the amazing work that they do at this center,” Boehm said. She and other St. James parishioners began visiting the center on church trips to Jerusalem, and the congregation, through its outreach budget, now gives more than $2,000 a year to AFEDJ to support the Princess Basma Centre.

Separately, a parishioner who works as a high school teacher mentioned to Hall two years ago that it was difficult to find workplaces that would hire special-needs teenagers. Hall said it was like “the Holy Spirit blew through the room,” and the congregation quickly developed a plan to renovate the church basement and turn it into a thrift shop that would hire students with disabilities.

The dozen or so students who now work at the Sky’s the Limit store have been drawn to the cause of helping children in Jerusalem, and AFEDJ welcomes their support.

“We thank the young people who run the thrift store at St. James for showing us all how to share gifts with our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land,” AFEDJ Executive Director John Lent said in a written statement. “These students and the St. James community have built a tangible connection to children in East Jerusalem who are treated and educated at the remarkable Princess Basma Centre.”

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org .
Anglican Voices at the COP25 Climate Talks

21 December 2019
Archbishop Julio Murray speaking at an ecumenical action during the COP. Photo: Anglican Alliance / Elizabeth Perry.

“I call upon churches to create consciousness that there is a crisis which we are all part of… I call upon the churches to work in a united way. As faith-based organisations we can make a difference working together.

“This is God’s world. We play a very important role as stewards of this reality. God is still in the mix – we just have to get it right” – Archbishop Julio Murray, Bishop of Panama and Archbishop of Central America.

Across the Communion, Anglicans are on the front line of the climate emergency. They are not only affected by the impacts of climate change but are also taking action to respond to its challenges . This wealth of experience was in evidence at the 25th UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) climate talks which took place earlier this month in Madrid, Spain. Anglicans were among the faith-based voices speaking into the conference, others of which included the campaign Renew Our World , of which the Anglican Alliance is a member, the World Council of Churches , ACT Alliance and the Global Climate Catholic Movement .
Renew Our World call for climate justice both inside the COP and at the mass march in Madrid. Photo: Anglican Alliance / Elizabeth Perry.

Melanie Mullen from The Episcopal Church spoke of how welcome faith voices were at the COP, saying, “We continue to be surprised and encouraged as national delegations at COP look to faith bodies as the place civil society nurtures hope and progress”.

Where now?
Photo: Anglican Alliance / Elizabeth Perry.

Despite the impassioned calls of many both inside and outside the conference, the COP ended in disappointment . This makes 2020 an even more critical year for the world to take action on climate change. Two key opportunities for Anglican engagement are the Lambeth Conference in July and next year’s COP.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has written: “Climate Change is the greatest challenge that we and future generations face. When we look at Jesus, we see one who instinctively stood alongside the most vulnerable in society. It is absolutely clear that following Jesus must include standing alongside those that are on the frontline of this unfolding catastrophe. Climate change will rightly be a central part of our reflections and conversations at next year’s Lambeth Conference”.

The year 2020 will culminate in COP26, which will be held in Glasgow, in the UK. This fifth anniversary of the historic Paris climate agreement is a scheduled milestone for all nations to significantly increase their ambition for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If countries fail to take the necessary steps, the integrity of creation is likely to break down.

Why does the Anglican Alliance care about climate change?
Photo: Anglican Alliance / Elizabeth Perry.

The Anglican Alliance connects, equips and inspires the worldwide Anglican family to work for a world free of poverty and injustice and to safeguard creation. Climate change is a major factor driving poverty and migration, as well as having severe detrimental impacts on the environment. The Anglican Alliance works closely with the Anglican Communion Environment Network, the group of committed Eco-Bishops, the Green Anglicans movement as well as church provinces and agencies actively engaged in promoting environmental justice – in living out the fifth Mark of Mission to protect the integrity of creation and renew the life of the earth. We also connect with ecumenical climate initiatives, such as Renew our World.

The Anglican Alliance also provides a convening platform for Anglican churches and agencies to work together in the aftermath of disasters, many of which are climate related. Helping build resilience to disasters  and building partnerships for response and resilience is an increasingly important part of our work. See  here . Please also see our  prayer and worship section  and our  Season of Creation post . Our report of the  Lambeth roundtable on climate change and migration  is a rich source of stories and information.

The Feast of The Holy Innocents

December 28, 2019
The Holy Innocents were male infants slaughtered by King Herod the Great in Bethlehem in an unsuccessful attempt to kill the "king of the Jews." The Gospel of Matthew, ch. 2, records that the wise men, or Magi, from the east were seeking the child who was born king of the Jews. They had "observed his star at its rising," and came to pay him homage. They told this to Herod, which frightened him "and all Jerusalem with him." Herod feared that the young "king" would threaten his throne. The chief priests and scribes told Herod that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. They also told him when the star had appeared. Herod told the wise men to search diligently for the child in Bethlehem and tell him when they found the child. He said he wanted to go to the child and pay him homage. The wise men found the child Jesus and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But the wise men were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and "they left for their own country by another road." Herod was furious when he realized that he had been tricked by the wise men. He ordered the death of all male children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under. The child Jesus was not harmed because Joseph had been warned in a dream to escape to Egypt with Jesus and Mary. The feast of the Holy Innocents has been dated from the fourth century in Bethlehem and from the fifth century in North Africa and Rome. It is a major feast of the Episcopal calendar of the church year, observed on Dec. 28. The collect for this feast prays that God will receive "into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace" (BCP, p. 238). The hymns "In Bethlehem a newborn boy" (Hymn 246) and "Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child" (Hymn 247) are especially appropriate for the feast of the Holy Innocents.


We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

-From An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church https://episcopalchurch.org/library/glossary/holy-innocents


By Leslie Scoopmire
Posted December 26, 2019
We’ve had unseasonably warm weather here in the last few days, and we were treated to a Christmas Day in which we could actually sit outside in shirts and shorts, listening to our neighbors sing Christmas carols through the open windows of their house with their growing brood of grandchildren. It was quite a relief, actually. 
Already the trashcans are at the curb, overflowing with boxes and paper and packing material. Already our puppies have gotten a furtive, haunted look as I joyfully pop the bubble wrap—a compulsion of mine since I was a kid that to them must sound like hailstones striking a tin roof. Already many of our neighbors are taking down the Christmas decorations—and part of me can’t blame them. When you’ve been hearing Christmas songs crooned from every speaker in every public space since the day after Labor Day, I can imagine it can be freeing to shut the door on our annual seemingly interminable season of consumption.
Yet, we liturgical types delight who insist on keeping Advent and Christmas as separate seasons have only begun to celebrate. Hey! We insist. Today is only the second day of Christmas, as the old carol commemorates. We’re only up to the “two turtle doves” part—we’ve got quite a way to go to get to the ladies dancing and lords a-leaping, much less those drummers drumming. Yet, thanks to the warm weather, we got to listen to the “calling birds” already this afternoon, as the juncos, song sparrows, and titmice sang out their gratitude for the full bird feeders scattered around our yards.
Since we observed the Winter Solstice five days ago, the other good news is that the days are getting longer, even if only in tiny increments. Even more wonderful, our Jewish kindred are also celebrating light heading into the fourth night of Hanukkah. Yes, for those of us who crave the sun, any lengthening can feel like a weight off our shoulders. That’s why I am always grateful that the revised common lectionary readings for this Sunday will include the beautiful prologue to John’s gospel, with its six-fold repetition of the word “light.” 
But of course, this need to embrace light is so much more than a metaphor or a meteorological event, or even a physiological need. It’s a spiritual exercise that is all part of that “having life, and having it more abundantly” promise embedded in the life of faith. Even in my sunshine-deprived heart, the promise that “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it,” never fails to lift my soul, even when the darkness threatening so much of our common life together seems to gather adherents. 
The beautiful testimony to the light we hear described in the opening verses of John’s gospel is echoed in the first chapter of the First Letter of John , itself paraphrased beautifully in one of my favorite hymns in our 1982 Hymnal, “I Want to Walk As a Child of the Light,” which begins:
I want to walk as a child of the light.
I want to follow Jesus.
God sent the stars to give light to the world.
The star of my life is Jesus.
In Him there is no darkness at all.
The night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God.
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.
As we struggle to make our way in this world, may we remember that, if we are to remain true to our calling as Christians, we are called to testify to the light of God —to testify to it, to amplify it, to embody it, to nurture it, to be guided by it—to sing that light out as gratefully and whole-heartedly as the songbirds. We must never give in to the darkness in the world, or make our peace with a darkness that threatens to overwhelm our neighbors, much less take delight in it, as too many talking heads around us seem to do.
As we celebrate these twelve days of Christmas, of stretching with hope toward the light of Epiphany, may we be ever alive to the need to seek the light of Christ in our lives. May we be determined to testify to that light with joy and gratitude, to bear that light within us not just for our own sakes, but for the repair of the world in the coming new year.
Most Merciful God, bend near,
and place the balm of your spirit
upon this turbulent world we have made.
Let us hear again your call to live
as children of light, justice, healing, and peace. 
Lord, let us be children of light.
When we stumble blindly
in the storms of sin and destruction,
let us be filled with and reflect the light of your love. 
Let us be for laborers for justice.
Let us seek to not live by the sword,
but by the wisdom and grace of your Word. 
Let us be for agents of healing.
Let us seek reconciliation and repentance,
not retribution,
for one wound cannot be healed by another. 
Lord, let us be for peace.
Let us unclench the fists of our hearts,
renouncing all that separates us from each other. 
Lord, let our cry come to You from our depths
as we pray in your mercy.
The Rev. Leslie Scoopmire is a retired teacher and a priest in the Diocese of Missouri. She is priest-in-charge of  St. Martin’s Episcopal Church  in Ellisville, MO. She posts daily prayers at her blog  Abiding In Hope , and collects spiritual writings and images at  Poems, Psalms, and Prayers .


Canned Ham
Gift Cards from Safeway and Foodland
Place your donations in the red wagon by the door to the sanctuary on Sundays. Hale Ho`omalu also needs and appreciates monetary donations as well as gift-in-kind items.
Please note, we do not accept food items that are not mentioned on the monthly list and we do not accept clothing, toys or similar items unless a specific plea for such items is published in the Epistle . Your Epistle Staff will inform you of any special requests for donations.
New Year's Break
IN BRIEF . . .
These news briefs were featured in previous issues of "The Epistle"

Please submit your story ideas to the Epistle Staff at news@allsaintskauai.org .
If you need a ride to and from church call Chris Wataya at 808-652-0230.

If any ministry has an unmet need, reach out to put it on the All Saints' Wish List and it will be published in the Epistle . Contact Bill Caldwell at news@allsaintskauai.org .

For more information go to Laundry Love Kaua`i or contact Geoff Shields at gshields2334@gmail.com or Bill Caldwell at news@allsaintskauai.org .

Whenever you have a need for support, please call (650) 691-8104 and leave a voice mail. The system will immediately forward the information to the Pastoral Care Committee who will respond to each request. If you prefer, you may send an electronic pastoral care request via email to pastoralcare@allsaintskauai.org .

Individuals who want to participate in the Prayer Chain Ministry must re-enroll to continue receiving the email communications . To re-enroll, please visit the newly established   Pastoral Care web page  or contact the Church Office at (808) 822-4267.

Prayer requests will now be   submitted online   or by contacting the Church Office at (808) 822-4267.

Names can be added to the Prayers of the People petitions by using the  Prayer Chain Request form  or by contacting the Church Office at (808) 822-4267. Names will remain in the Prayers of the People for a maximum of four Sundays before a name must be resubmitted.

All Saints' Eucharistic Visitors are available each Sunday (pending availability) to bring Communion to those who are sick or shut-in. Requests for a Eucharistic visitation can be made by calling the Church Office at (808) 822-4267 or emailing homecommunion@allsaintskauai.org .