Christmas is a significant date because of the birth of Jesus Christ – who offered a message of peace, forgiveness and divine love. Christmas is a special opportunity to put aside the material world and focus on the spiritual aspirations of peace and happiness.
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
[Words of the Christ, Matthew 5:9]
When I was a child I used to look forward to Christmas like anything. No school, lots of food, tv – but best of all lots of presents! But, I also remember often being disappointed. Opening presents went by so quick and, by the afternoon, Christmas hadn’t lived up to my very high expectations. As the years go by, I learnt to have no expectations over presents.
What I do like about Christmas is the extra sense of peace and quiet. At least for one day, the world seems to take a day away from business. People seem happier being with friends and family. When asked about the meaning of Christmas, Sri Chinmoy mentioned the importance of happiness
“Christmas? Happiness, happiness, happiness. The Saviour came, two thousand years ago, to bless us and we shall try to be worthy of his blessings. That is to say we must pray and pray for Him to guide us. So my message is only happiness. This happiness only we can get from our prayers and our meditation. If you are happy, the whole world is happy. If you are miserable, the whole world is miserable. For me the Christmas message is happiness. ”
Although, I do not follow the Christian religion, at Christmas time I return home to my parent’s village. In the afternoon, I like to walk up to the empty church and sit in silence in the fading afternoon light – just before sunset and the church door is closed. I really appreciate the fact they keep the church open. When I go (usually just before 4pm) it is getting dark in the church and there is just a single candle light, which I use as object of meditation. Inwardly, I try to keep my mind calm and quiet and focus on the spiritual heart. It is a simple meditation. The church is empty of people, but inwardly there is a sense of something to assuage our human tribulations.
This is also a powerful talk on Christmas by Sri Chinmoy
Christmas: the play of universal emotion
The birth of the Child was secrecy itself. But His Birthday is as illumining as the Sun, as energising as nectar. Christmas is the birth of Promise, the link between Heaven with Earth.
This is the day that unites near and far. This is the day that awakens the best in us, within and without. This is the Day of Eternal Bliss, from which the Past, Present and Future derive much significance of Existence. Christmas reveals to us a limitless ocean of Universal Joy. The waves of the suffering world dare not declare their existence.
It is not under the branches, but at the foot of the tree that one gets full protection. Therefore human souls, wherever they may be scattered, return to their families in order to breathe in serenely the Universal Harmony and Peace on Christmas Day.
Sri Chinmoy, AUM — Vol. 1, No. 5, December 27, 1965.