Courage is an essential quality, needed for success in both everyday life and spiritual growth. Fortunately, courage is an innate quality of the soul. We cannot avoid the challenges that come to us, because they are drawn by our own karma and the soul’s longing to be free.

Paramhansa Yogananda says it this way: “Every day is a fresh opportunity on the part of the human ego to gather more and more exploits of heroism. Meet everybody and every circumstance on the battlefield of life with the courage of a hero and the smile of a conqueror. Whatever comes your way and needs attention must be considered a duty. Duty is not imposed upon man by any super-power. It is the inherent urge of life toward progression.”

It is enlightening to contemplate the examples of great courage displayed in the lives of the great world saviors. Let’s imagine, for a moment, the courage demonstrated in the story of Christmas.

Mary was an unmarried teenage woman in the small village of Nazareth when the angel Gabriel appeared to her and asked her to bear a holy child. Her first act of faith and courage was to say yes to this astounding request. Whatever comes your way and needs attention must be considered a duty.

Joseph, who was betrothed to Mary, had to have the courage to defy the cultural norms of the day and accept her. Every day is a fresh opportunity on the part of the human ego to gather more and more exploits of heroism.

true meaning of christmas yogananda teachings following the stars three wise men painting

“Following the Star,” by Nayaswami Jyotish.

Courage reveals itself through the inner struggle needed to say yes to whatever comes our way and needs attention. There are many other examples of valor shown by the young holy couple: the difficult circumstances of the birth in a manger, the visitations of angels and the three wise men, and the courage to flee to Egypt in order to save the young savior. As Yogananda puts it, “It takes courage to renounce the known for the unknown.”

In these last four “Advent blogs” we’ve given a few examples of spiritual qualities, especially courage: Devi’s bravery in accepting a strange stranger into her home and giving him comfort, my challenge that we have the strength to “willingly accept whatever is mine to do,” and Devi’s challenge to have the resolve to forgive and “Bless all who ever harmed you, or ever wished you harm.”

Here, then, is a final challenge for this year. Look into your heart and find something that has “come your way, needs attention, and must be considered a duty,” but that you have been avoiding. Take on the challenge, face it head on, and conquer it, freeing yourself from its limiting cage.

During this holy season the Masters are supporting our efforts by sending powerful blessings of grace and courage. These are their Christmas presents to each of us, wrapped in joy and tied with the bow of love.

Devi and I also send you our loving thoughts and encouragement, that you may experience the Christ consciousness during this season and always.

Happy Christmas.

Nayaswami Jyotish

Listen to Jyotish as he reads the blog, then expands on it, often adding special behind-the-inspiration stories and answers to common spiritual questions. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (8:29):


  1. Thank you, I am grateful and feel blessed in my heart and soul the inspirational and timely message.

  2. Dears, I’ve been a soldier in my last previous life and I’ve learnt what courage means by the hardest circumstances a human being can pass in a battlefield. However I still must pass battles day-to-day within myself and this are as hard as the ones before. I’ve learnt that the spiritual growth requires bravery and that Masters are always behind us otherwise a human being wouldn’t just do it. Each time we fall down Masters raise us up.
    Have beautiful Christmas time and lots of thanks for your service!
    With Gid in Love.

  3. Christmas Blessings to you both and to the Ananda community!

  4. Thank you Jyotish,

    This is an especially poignant and important message. Well done.

  5. Happy Christmas to you and thank you for this Nice story.

    In ever New bliss, Love and Light,

  6. I gathered my courage to say “yes” to a situation. Is it possible to write directly to you, Jyotish, about it?

    I read and appreciate the wisdom shared in these writings!

    Thank you for your example of spiritualized living!

    Merry Christmas!

    Carol Bezin

  7. Dear Jhotish,
    Your writings are a joy and an inspiration. I am so very grateful.
    Sending love and joy to you and Devi,
    Sandy Koshari

  8. Jyotish and Devi,

    There must be a divine hand in these messages because they are so timely and relevant to me and others!
    With Divine Gratitude,


  9. mm

    Thank you Nayaswami Jyotish.
    Very timely. Your message helps give courage by reminding us it’s ok.

    Merry Christmas

  10. Thank you, dear soul, for your unwavering courage, guidance and spiritual friendship. Namaste

  11. Verbal and intellectual acceptance of spiritual concepts of spirit being immortal is unable to stand before testing by Maya. Maya is nonexistent, one knows and keeps making efforts persistently to overcome. Finally guru grace is the one which tears the veil and makes truth an experience for ever.
    Unexpectedly it falls in our grace.

  12. Thank you Nayaswami Jyotish and Devi for your inspirational messages, and for the reminder of courage on our spiritual journey homeward.
    Wishing you all every Christ’mas Blessing, with love Mariananda.

  13. Thank you for your inspiring words 🙏❤️ trust peace and love ❤️

  14. Thank you Jyotish and Devi for your inspiring and encouraging Advent blogs. I have appreciated their inner wisdom. Blessings to you both in 2023, may the light of Christ shine through all our hearts joyfully as we come into the new year.

  15. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,

    Thank you very much for this inspiring blog! Enjoyed reading it and will put in to practice by His grace


  16. Dearest Jyotish Ji, last friday when your blog arrived it was perfect timing. it helped face a certain ‘opportunity’ that very day in the right spirit. with courage like how you wrote ‘Whatever comes your way and needs attention must be considered a duty.’ powerful loving guidance Ji that helped me then and today as I look back at it, after a week, it was exactly what I needed to free myself from a certain ‘limiting cage’. Blessed season’s greetings to you both Ji. We love you both and we thank God, Guru and beloved Swamiji for all that you share and do for us all.

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