The following is an excerpt from a Christmas Message by Paramahansa Yogananda, published in The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You — Paramahansaji’s revelatory commentary on the original teachings of Jesus. “The true celebration of Christmas,” he said, “is the realization in our own consciousness of the birth of Christ Consciousness.” As we enter the holiday season, Paramahansaji is offering us the chance to start now to apply “how-to-live” wisdom to make Christmastime the celebration it was meant to be — of true peace and joy born in ourselves.
Make your heart an altar of Christ-love — which lives in all races and loves them equally — so that you may love all people, seeing in their body-temples the dwelling place of omnipresent Christ.
Forgive all your enemies — real and imaginary — even as Jesus forgave his adversaries. Fill your heart with compassionate understanding for those who crucify you with unkind actions, words, or ingratitude in exchange for the good you give them. Let your prayer be: “Father, teach me to love my error-stricken brethren, who know not what they do. Let me not by unkindness drive them deeper into evil, but rather let my love persuade them to better ways of living.”
Govern all the actions of your life with the honesty and fearlessness of Jesus Christ.
Overcome sorrow-producing temptations by self-control, even as Jesus overcame the temptations of Satan [see maya in glossary]. Develop a preference for all things good. Forego the temporary pleasures that derive from misuse of the senses, and pursue the lasting, true happiness of the soul.
Give to others good for evil, understanding for misunderstanding, kindness for unkindness. Within yourself, substitute peace for disquietude, calmness for restlessness, and lasting bliss for material pleasure.
Give the spiritual gifts of your outstanding good qualities to those who need them, and receive ennobling soul qualities from the great ones, who love you for your own good.
Remember that Christ can be born again every Christmas, or at any other time, in your meditation-awakened consciousness. Behold the omnipresent, ever-living Christ born anew in your devoted attention. Make the unknown Christ known to you by communing with him as the ever-new, ever-increasing joy of your daily deep meditation. Love Christ as this joy of meditation, and in this way celebrate every day the spiritual Christmas: his second coming, within yourself.
See the rebirth of Christ in the magnificence of all nature, in your awakened wisdom, in everything that wears true beauty, and in everyone who is saturated with the fragrance of Christ qualities.
Enjoy whatever you do at Christmas with the thought of Christ, in the peace of Christ.
Exchange gifts as offerings to the Christ in all; and on the Christmas tree of your calm consciousness, richly decorated and glistening with divine soul qualities, place for him the gift of your heart. There receive from Christ the gift of himself.
Through the portal of meditation, let your imprisoned joy escape to, and rest in, the heart of Christ, which is in everything. Let your joy dance in the farthest planets, over the vastness of the blue, and in the wavelets of souls you have met and loved, and who are nearest to you. Then you will behold Christ cradled in every manifestation of creation. You will discover the omnipresent joy of Christ in all saints, in all men, in all creatures, in the star-studded cosmos, and in the cradle of your thoughts and the temple of your soul.
We hope that you can join us at Christmastime, in person at an SRF location or online. Below you will find two links, one taking you to information about upcoming holiday events, such as the Christmas Open House and All-Day Meditation, and one taking you to a resource page with further inspiration and guidance helping you to dive deeply now into the true spirit of the season!