This has been a highly unusual year so far, and it appears that the Covid19 shutdowns will continue, thus eliminating Christmas church services in many areas. This also allows us, however, to bring fresh energy to how we approach the Christmas season.
When I was a young girl, age ten, I decided to prepare for Christmas by attending daily Mass for Advent, over the four weeks preceding Christmas. Each year we children were asked to make some quiet promise for Advent and this was a bigger commitment than usual. I would leave home about 6:15 am to walk to the church, attend the 6:30 am Mass, then return home, eat breakfast, and get ready to walk to school. This was in New Hampshire so the early morning walk was cold and grey, as the sun only rises by around 7 am in December. But I was used to the northern winter. Only a handful of people attended Mass each morning, and they were dressed in their work clothes, not their “Sunday finest.” There was a quiet stillness to the ceremony, plus an inner knowing that each soul was there out of quiet love for God and Jesus. When I became an adult and learned to meditate, it reminded me of that feeling when I had started my days with God long ago as a child.
When that Christmas finally arrived, being yet a child, I loved the Christmas tree and all of the gifts beneath it, yet my heart was already full of the love of God and Jesus. I hadn’t expected anything “in return” inwardly beyond the peace I had felt at daily Mass. It had been my offering of love to Jesus, so it was complete in and of itself. This special feeling of inner peace and connection on Christmas was a quiet surprise and filled my heart.
I was recalling these things last night, knowing that today is the first Sunday of Advent in this very unusual year. I was concerned that this holy season might feel empty or dry if we only watched our beautiful Christmas season events online. Our Christmas services at Ananda have always imparted a special feeling of God’s love.
I was ready to make a small but important Advent commitment in addition to my normal spiritual practices. It involves Yogananda’s book The Second Coming of Christ, The Resurrection of Christ within You although you can apply this to any holy scripture.
For the first year or more after my late husband, Timothy, died, I found myself daily drawn to hold The Second Coming of Christ (a two-volume set) and pray to Yogananda and Jesus, “What do you want me to see today?” I would then touch each volume and if my finger tingled more with one, I would pick up that volume. I would continue to see if my fingers tingled more for the front, middle, or back of the volume. It was not an exact science, just an openness to see what God wanted to show me that day. I always felt a very personal response in the sacred words that my eyes then fell upon in the book. It was very meaningful to have that connection with Jesus and Yogananda during that painful time of loss. As my heart healed, I gradually slipped away from the daily prayerful reading of The Second Coming of Christ.
Likewise, I used to pray over that sacred book, and others, occasionally in years prior, such as after giving a powerful healing session, or while I was praying for someone, or when I needed spiritual insight for myself in some manner. It was uncanny how precise the words were for the situation at hand. I think the simultaneous combination of both prayerful invocation and receptivity makes this a beautiful tool of spiritual connection for use with sincerity.
Last night, in anticipation of sharing this advent promise with you all, I prayed over The Second Coming of Christ and ended up on page 705, The Parable of the Mustard Seed.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
Yogananda’s interpretation is beautiful and fitting:
“The kingdom of heaven, the ecstasy of superconsciousness…is a mustard seed of ever new happiness when sown in the field of one’s consciousness…”
Good things often start in small ways, but blossom into much more when we are sincere and consistent.
“…Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
Please feel free to share this post and to invite others to join us in the healing prayer ministry. Your prayers are a direct way to share God’s love and compassion with others. Thank you for your service through prayer.
Christmas Blessings and Peace,
PS – I have included many inspirational items for you to enjoy all through this month and beyond. Click on each bullet point to see which items appeal to you; some are quick and some are in-depth:
- The Second Coming of Christ, The Resurrection of Christ within You – published by SRF, available from online booksellers in both hard and softcover, and Kindle editions. I prefer the hardcover because it includes illustrations by Heinrich Hoffman; Yogananda said his portrait of Jesus looked very much like Jesus as he had seen him in visions.
- 20 FREE Podcasts from Swami Kriyananda on the Revelations of Christ
- The Yoga Teachings of Jesus: The Bible Commentaries of Paramhansa Yogananda This would be a wonderful time to take this online course.
- “Original Christianity” — Chapter 33 from The New Path, by Swami Kriyananda
- “Reincarnation — The Lost Years of Jesus” — Swami Kriyananda
- “Why Yogananda Taught Both the Teachings of Christ and Krishna” – Swami Kriyananda