Jyotish and I are back at Ananda Village from Los Angeles for the Christmas holidays and are drinking in the peace and quiet of the country. We’ve had a wonderful time being in LA for these past four months — reaching and teaching new friends, sharing Master’s love through Swamiji’s Sunday satsangs, and watching the remarkable process of a new community emerging. Now we have a few weeks to absorb the inner blessings of Christmas before returning to Los Angeles to celebrate Master’s birthday on January 5th.
I love the Christmas season. There’s a mysterious spiritual quality present that I’m sure we’re all aware of, but that’s hard to define. It starts with humility — in my mind’s eye I see the travel-weary Holy Family making their way to Bethlehem for the census according to Roman decree. Without any sense of importance, Joseph and Mary know that she is about to give birth to a great world savior. Finding no room in the inn, they make their way to a little hut filled with fresh straw and the sweet warmth of farm animals. When her son is born, Mary lays him in the manger, in a feeding trough. The divine Christ lies there in the humblest of circumstances, but the little hut is filled with the presence of angels.
Then there is patience born of love. Holding that tiny baby in her arms, Mary must have known that the life of her son would be filled with great suffering and sacrifice. Still with that perfected love for God and for man, she accepted it all willingly, patiently, knowing that through their offering people’s hearts would never be the same.
The spirit of hope is a part of it. At that dark time in history when people were oppressed by materialistic consciousness and their was faith tested, the Divine Consciousness took birth again to remind us that there is always “a light that shineth in darkness.” The hope that Christ brought — as shown by his own life — is not that all trials would be taken from our path, but that we would always find the strength to deal with them, and in the end to triumph.
And finally there is joy. I believe the angels still celebrate that sacred birth, because they know that his birth is our own birth to a higher life of God-consciousness. The simple joys of giving gifts, of enjoying the company of friends and family, and of feeling a sense of universal brotherhood are acts that sustain and renew us each Christmas.
Who can define Christmas, or would even want to? We can only inwardly prepare ourselves to receive the grace that flows down at this time, and pray that people everywhere will be uplifted to express peace and good will toward all.
Our Guru has written a beautiful Christmas prayer:
O Lord! Make my heart big enough to hold Thee, that it throb with the Christ Consciousness in everything. Then shall I enjoy the festivity of Thy birth in my mind, my soul, and in oneness with every pulsing atom.
With divine love and sincere wishes for a blessed Christmas for you and your loved ones,
Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi, and all your Ananda Family