Do not think of Christ as a helpless little baby, for although he was the tiny baby Jesus, within his consciousness was omnipresent God. Otherwise, how could he, when only a young boy, talk in a manner that startled even the wise men? While he had a little boy brain, behind it and manifesting through it was the Almighty spirit of God. The universal spirit of Christ Consciousness was with him from the beginning.

That is the real reason why we celebrate his birthday — in order to remind ourselves of the divine qualities of Jesus and to awaken ourselves to a realization of the enlightening, loving Christ Presence in our own consciousness. It is a pity that so many people forget entirely the real purpose of the Christmas celebration and lose themselves in the material side only of the joyous festivities.

Christ has been unknown to you because you have kept the gates of your devotion closed. Take this Christmas celebration seriously and through deep and sustained meditation invite the Christ to manifest himself to you. Jesus himself said that to all those who received him, he would give the power to become the sons of God. Then why not make yourself ready to receive him now? It is easier at this season than at any other time, for the whole world is filled with a spirit of goodwill, love, and peace. Even the entire cosmos celebrates this season of joy for the Light that permeates all space.

You must remember what Jesus was in reality. He was created a human being and went through all the struggles and suffering of a human being — but he came through victoriously. That is why he can be an example for us, an ideal toward which we may strive. If he could succeed — we may also.

We must live life unselfishly as he lived it and must continually practice the one method for realizing the presence of that Almighty Grace within — the method of persistent meditation. You must go so deep within the great silence that you feel the one life which pervades all Creation. Then you will find the Christ Presence.

Christ must come in the cathedral of silence. Christ must be born in the cradle of each loving heart. So, instead of enjoying just the material aspects of this Christmas celebration, make your heart a cradle where Christ can be born again. You must prepare your consciousness.

Be sure that love and goodwill go with your gifts, and be sure to recognize the spirit and the hand of the Father in those you receive. Give extra time to meditation for at least the week preceding Christmas, take several hours the day before, and be sure to meditate on Christmas morning. Accept this great gift which the Father meant for you. Do not let Jesus’s living and his suffering be in vain. He came to bring you joy and glory and peace and light. These he offers to you always but with especial tenderness and love at this holy season. Wake up and accept the gift of life.

Christ is the joy felt in meditation. Christ is the perception realized in the deepest hours of silence. Clear away all the bars of material desire and let Christ into your heart. Open the portals of devotion and meditate until the Christ child is born within you.

May you have a very merry Christmas, and may you receive the greatest gift that anyone can wish for you the perception of the Christ spirit in your own heart. May you feel his presence on Christmas day and every day throughout the new year. Open your hands to receive the wonderful gift of Light — meditate. Meditate until you get results. The answer is sure if you persist. Love, serve, meditate.

From Inner Culture magazine, Paramhansa Yogananda, December 1936.

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