Spiritual Directors of Ananda Sangha
The Real Gifts of Christmas
December 22, 2011
We send our heartfelt wishes that your Christmas season be filled with peace and joy. May you feel you are like the three wise men bearing gifts of divine love with each gift you give.
Yogananda tells us that the three wise men who traveled from the East to visit the baby Jesus were our gurus — Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, and Sri Yukteswar — in previous incarnations. Master also explained that they were great yogis guided by the Inner Star of intuition which led them to the Christ Consciousness present in that tiny babe asleep in the manger. They came, in part, to prove by the “Miracle of the Star” that Jesus was a true son of God, an avatar.
“The Second Coming of Christ” is what Yogananda called his own mission to the West. He came to show us all how we, too, through meditation, service, devotion can behold the radiant Inner Star that shines at the spiritual eye.
I remember my first Christmas at Ananda in 1970. In fact, it was my first Christmas ever since I was raised in a Jewish family. The Village had only 30 or 40 members at the time. This was before other Ananda communities were formed, so we were a small group celebrating Christmas very simply.
I was living at the Meditation Retreat in a little 10-foot trailer nestled among the trees down a small dirt road. On Christmas Eve we had a concert in the temple at the Retreat, and it started to snow. I stayed after everyone had left to meditate alone before the beautiful altar as the snow was quietly falling all around.
When I finished meditating and was preparing to walk back to my trailer, I realized that the snow was quite deep and that I had no flashlight. So I curled up next to the little propane heater, covered up with someone’s meditation blanket, and slept one of the most peaceful slumbers I’ve ever had.
In the morning when I opened my eyes, I felt spiritually transformed as I beheld a world of sparkling beauty and purity with snow covering the trees and landscape with a blanket of white. People began to gather in the temple for the Christmas morning meditation, but I had already felt the presence of the baby Jesus — so quiet, powerful, and filled with God’s presence.
Now these many years later, Ananda’s celebrations of Christmas happen all over the world, as communities and groups come together for many inspiring activities. But for me, Christmas will always be the awakening to a new world of inspiration and joy that I experienced alone in a small, cold temple in the snowy woods.
So, this Christmas may you be ready to receive from Christ his greatest gift of all — the awareness of his presence residing all around you and in your own heart.
With love in God, Christ, and Guru,
Nayaswamis Devi and Jyotish