Over ninety years ago, in 1931, Paramahansa Yogananda inaugurated the custom of devoting an entire day during the Christmas season to inner communion with the Divine and attunement with Christ Consciousness — the omnipresent, universal consciousness manifested by Jesus and other divine teachers down the ages.
As Paramahansaji explained: “The ideal is to honor Christ in spirit in meditation from morning till evening, absorbed in feeling in one’s own consciousness the Infinite Christ that was born in Jesus. That experience is one of profound peace and joy, more than a human heart has ever known — expanding into an all-embracing consciousness.”
This tradition continues today in the annual all-day Christmas meditations conducted at SRF temples, centers, and meditation groups throughout the world. SRF monks and nuns traveled to various cities for the purpose of conducting these special meditations. Lasting about eight hours, these meditations are for many members one of the spiritual highlights of the entire year. In addition to periods of silent meditation, they also include periods of prayer, devotional chanting, and inspirational readings from the writings of Paramahansaji.
Some of the monastic visits:
Christmas Open House at the Mother Center
Another joyous tradition is the annual Christmas Open House held at the SRF International Headquarters on Mount Washington in Los Angeles (the Mother Center), which took place December 10 - 11 this year. Dozens of SRF monks and nuns welcomed members who came from all over California and Arizona to enjoy fellowship and refreshment, view lovely decorations and a glittering tree adorned with unique ornaments from around the world, meditate in the chapel, and hear caroling led by singers from one of the local SRF temples. A highlight for many visitors was a special opportunity to visit Paramahansaji’s living quarters, now preserved as a shrine.
We welcome you to enjoy images from these events in the slideshow below:
This year, we were also able to resume a Christmas Open House for our Mt. Washington neighbors and their children. Held on Friday evening, December 9, the festive event drew more than 250 neighbors to the Mother Center, where they were greeted by SRF monks and nuns. Visitors were able to view the many unique decorations in the Reception Hall of the main building, and enjoy visits with Santa Claus and his favorite reindeer, Rudolph, under a decorated tent on the tennis court, where refreshments were offered and carolers uplifted the gathering with Christmas cheer. It was a special joy to share the universal spirit of Christmas with them.
Visit by Mt. Washington Elementary School Children
Then on Wednesday, December 13, 45 second graders from the nearby Mt. Washington Elementary School — along with their teachers and volunteer parents — were hosted by monks and nuns for a special tour of the Christmas decorations and caroling inside the main building.
After exploring the Mother Center gardens, refreshments awaited on the tennis court and all could play with Rudolph (below).