[In 2007, when this Advent originally ran, Day 5 fell on December 7th. Don't Hate on Hawaii: PRETEND!]
Today is Pearl Harbor Day. What does this have to do with Advent? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything.
The original Advent meant preparing for the return of the Lord. As in the Second Coming. The people preparing were supposed to be readying themselves for a time when they were not going to be there anymore. They didn't know when this day would be (and still don't); they were only to be ready.
No matter what your end-times beliefs, imagine those people in Hawaii, now 66 years ago. Though snow did not cover the ground, and people were more accustomed to surfboards (not sleds), they were still preparing for Christmas. The Civilians were waking up that Sunday morning, perhaps preparing for an Advent Sunday, maybe to do Christmas decorating afterward. Soldiers on duty were perhaps daydreaming of a furlough back home to Kansas for mom's Christmas dinner.
And then in a heartbeat, everything changed.
I'm not trying to make you all doomy and gloomy. But make no mistake: we should not, we dare not ever forget those people. Not only are they our honored dead; sacrificed in the opening salvo of a horrific war to come, but they illustrate so perfectly why you should be living in the moment and enjoying this holiday season.
Maybe you're sure (whether you should be or not) that you there in Palookaville, USA are safe from all enemies foreign and domestic. But honestly: you can't be sure you'll make it to Christmas. There are car accidents, bad tickers, and Full House Marathons.
So, please, enjoy every minute that you can, especially this season. Don't miss an opportunity to just sit and talk with your family, no matter what needs to be done. Take the time to look at your tree you put up: else why put it up?
I know you're busy, everyone is. But do you think the people of Honolulu might wish they'd spent their last week a little differently? Take a lesson, and eat some cookies now.
And just so we don't end on a downer, here are snowmen dancing to Mele Kalikimaka (Hawaiian for "Merry Christmas.")