The Correct Way To Celebrate Christmas

Love and Greetings on the occasion of Christmas - The Day so Holy and Sacred celebrating the advent of the "Son of God."

Today Swami tells us the correct way to celebrate the birth of Lord Jesus Christ.

Sai Inspires - 25th December 2005

In all religions, birthdays of great personalities are celebrated but the ideals for which they lived are not remembered and followed. If you do not care to follows their teachings the celebrations lose their meaning and become artificial observances. It is not doing justice to the good people whose birthdays are being celebrated. Christ taught people to love all beings and serve all with compassion. It is only by practising these ideals that one can truly celebrate His birthday. The Divinity within should be reflected in every action... Worship means loving others with your full heart. You must live in love and lead a life of selfless service based on love. This is the only right way of celebrating the birth of Christ.



How Must We Respond?



Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam. Today, hundreds of millions of people around the world would be celebrating Christmas. One wonders how many of them would take a minute off to ponder over what Christmas really means. Instead, most likely, over 90% of those celebrating Christmas would be preoccupied with matters that hardly relate to Christ and his eternal message of love and compassion.

Time there was hundreds of years ago when the world was not supposed to be so advanced; but then, and people had all the time to think about the teachings of Christ. Few realise that if today there are over a billion Christians all over the world, it was because many in those distant days were drawn to the Son of God by the message he preached and lived by, before he made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of humanity.

People were drawn then to the message of Christ, because it is the universal message of Pure Love and Compassion. It is a message with an eternal appeal that can touch Hearts even in the darkest of times; and it is that very same message that is drawing millions to Swami, including for the celebration of Christmas here.

No, Christmas is not about going on shopping spree, not about sending cards in thousands, not about marketing, not about opening attractively wrapped gifts and not about grand Christmas dinners or parties. It is all about Love and Compassion.

Preoccupied as we are these days with matters relating the material world, it is not easy to follow the message of Christ, or for that matter that of Swami. Indeed, even in earlier times it was not easy, which is why Christ once exclaimed in desperation, 'Why call ye me Lord, when thou doest not follow what I say'. Swami too has expressed similar disappointment via the words, 'Aacharanam ledu,' meaning people do not put into practice His teachings.

Once a speaker asked some devotees whom he was addressing, How come we force Swami to express dissatisfaction in this manner. If we really love Swami as we all claim, then why does such a serious lapse arise. There was then a lot of discussion until one person hit the nail on the head. He said, 'May be, perhaps unknown to ourselves, deep in our Heart we are not convinced that following Swami's teachings would do us any good. Possibly, we ask, What's there in it for me, and brush aside the teachings'.

This was an honest answer. The speaker then narrated the famous parable of the Good Samaritan first told by Jesus. Just to recall, there was a traveller going along a lonely desert road who was waylaid by robbers who not only took away everything this unfortunate traveller had but also beat him up and left him badly wounded. There he was lying helpless and in pain when along came a Levite. He saw the man and just kept on going without bothering even to enquire whether any help was needed. After some time came a priest but he was no better; he too couldn't care less about the hapless, wounded wayfarer. And then came a man from Samaria who stopped, applied balm to the wounds, bandaged them, placed the injured man on his donkey, and took him to an inn in a village. There he arranged for the victim of robbery to be accommodated and fed. And next day when he left, the Samarian left some money with the innkeeper to take care of the expenses of the injured man. That roughly is the parable narrated by Jesus.

The speaker then asked his audience: 'Why do you think the Levite and the priest walked away without attending to the wounded and dispossessed man. The audience had no difficulty in giving the answer. They all said, 'These two people did not offer help because there was nothing in it for them.' The speaker said that is right and then asked, 'In that case, what was there in it for the man from Samaria. What did he see that the other two who went before him didn't.' After some hesitation, one member of the audience said, 'Probably this man from Samaria felt he would feel happy inside if he extended help.'

That answer is indeed correct. The first two passers by sought an answer to the question. What's there in it for me from the Head. The Head saw no benefit and that is why those two went their way without bothering to help. The man from Samaria also asked the same question but addressed it to his Heart. And the Heart said, 'If you show love and compassion to the wounded man and help him, you will experience Bliss or Ananda'. The man accepted the response and did exactly what his Heart asked him to.

That really is the central point about the message that Christ gave then and Swami is teaching us now. In the world that we live in, we are a constant witness to all the things that happen there, especially the suffering of hundreds of millions. How must we respond? If the question is addressed to the Head, it would say, 'Don't bother.' When people do not bother they would turn to merrymaking and wasting money on unnecessary luxuries, money that could be used for alleviating pain and misery. Indeed, such people might, in the pursuit of their ambitions even inflict pain and cause hurt. However, if one listens to the Heart, one would do all one can to reach out to those in distress. Even if one is not able to physically help, one can at least pray to the Lord. Incidentally, it is interesting how often the Heart is portrayed along with pictures of Christ.

On this sacred day, let us who are blessed by the Lord to enjoy comfortable circumstances in life, take a moment off to think of hundreds of millions who are suffering from the aftermath of various natural disasters, who are in the clutches of poverty, and are facing a miserable end to their lives caused by diseases that could have been prevented if humanity had more feeling for the suffering. Instead of dreaming of shopping sprees and wild parties, let us ruminate on the teachings of Christ and His Father who is now very much with us. Let us spend some time reading the Discourses given by Swami at Christmas time year after year, to help us place the message of Christ in a modern context.

Merry Christmas and Jai Sai Ram.
With Love and Regards,
"Heart2Heart"
RadioSai e-Journal Team,
In Sai Service.

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