Ah, Christmas: the season of social gatherings, gift giving, wonderful food, glittering decorations, hustle and bustle . . . and yet it is so much more than any of these things.
Paramhansa Yogananda said that at this time of year the Christ consciousness is especially close to earth, and more accessible to those who reach for it. And he gave a mystical explanation of Christ’s statement, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Christ wasn’t referring merely to his physical presence here. The deeper meaning is that when two or more of our thoughts are gathered together to focus on Christ, we will experience his presence within us.
So during this time of heightened spiritual opportunity, how do we focus more fully on him? First, we can try to follow Jesus’ example of unconditional love and forgiveness. In a beautiful prayer-poem, Yoganandaji wrote of Christ: “O Thou Great Lover of all error-torn brothers, an unseen monument of the mightiest miracle of love was established in every heart when the magic of Thy voice uttered: ‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do.’”
Now is the time to forgive all those who have ever hurt or offended you. Realize that when people hurt others, no matter how grievous their offense, it is done out of ignorance. Find forgiveness and compassion for them, and pray that God show them the way out of their darkness.
Next, try to transcend any sense of division and separation from others. Though their race, religion, or beliefs may be different from your own, remember that the one spirit of God animates us all. In the prayer-poem quoted earlier, Yoganandaji went on to write: “Teach us to conquer the Satan of dividing selfishness, which prevents the gathering of all our brother-souls into the one fold of Spirit. Calling to one another by the watchword: ‘Love him who loves you, and love all who love you not,’ let us rally beneath the canopy of the universal oneness of the Christ.”
Then, live with deep faith in God’s constant love and protection. In today’s uncertain times it’s all too easy to grow anxious about what the future may hold. Banish any such thoughts by recalling to mind and heart Christ’s immortal words in the Sermon on the Mount: “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, How shall we be clothed? . . . For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Swami Kriyananda once told us, “Faith is the greatest thing Jesus wanted us to learn: not blind faith in mere words, but faith born of the experience of his inner presence.”
Finally, try to make Christ a living reality in your life by expressing him in your thoughts, words, and actions. Your consciousness, then, will expand to embrace his presence in each moment. Yoganandaji wrote: “Do whatever you do with the thought and peace of Christ. This Christmas behold Christ born anew in the beauty of all Nature, in your awakened wisdom, in everything which wears true beauty, and in everybody who saturates himself with the fragrance of Christ-qualities.”
If you strive to gather your thoughts together in these ways, you may share with Christ’s disciples their experience when he appeared in their midst after the Crucifixion, and said, “Peace be unto you.”
May you have a blessed Christmas season.
With joy in God, Christ, and Guru,
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