Traditional celebration of Christmas on the occasion of the advent of Jesus Christ is no longer confined within the Christian community. In fact, by paying reverential homage to the prophets, saints and sages of all religions we elevate our own cultural stature and benefit by their unfailing blessings showered indiscriminately on entire humanity craving for peace, prosperity and fraternity in universal harmony. Our poet Rabindranath Tagore taught us that unblemished joy in life flows only from love and wisdom. And the legacy of Christ comprises of the light of unconditional love and divine wisdom.
When the world is moving in wilderness being trouble-torn with violence, selfishness and unimaginable cruelty with loss of reason, understanding and good sense let us not confine our celebration of Christmas with cakes, candles, carols and pompous parties. It is time for remembrance of the rich legacy of Christ carried forward by the humanity for the last two millenniums to shower peace, love and human fraternity. It is time for inner celebration of Christmas more than mere frivolous external festivity.
Jesus Christ added a different dimension to the traditional Abrahamic religion by incorporating divine love and emphasising human kindness. He substituted the well-known God-fearing attitude by God-loving mysticism and ethical religious injunctions by spontaneous flow of the milk of human kindness. In addition, he proclaimed the essential divinity of man by asserting, “Kingdom of God is within you.” The spirit of God hidden within can be known by removal of spiritual ignorance and washing away the filth of sins with the waters of divine love. Significantly, the word ‘sin‘ originally meant missing the mark, which has become the malady of modern man.
Let us celebrate Christmas with Christ consciousness consisting of spiritual wisdom, sublime devotion, divine joy and indiscriminating love for all which Christ has taught us. Out of his realisation of essential divinity flowed his miraculous love even for his crucifiers as he realised, “God is love.” His path ensures peace and ultimate liberation. His unique teachings spontaneously flowed from his loving heart and constant oneness with Heavenly Father.
We can readily serve God by opening our hearts to love and placing ‘kingdom of God’ before everything else. This celestial love makes us absolutely selfless with massive expansion of self. Jesus said, “Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength and with all thy mind and love thy neighbours as thyself.” When love is at the core it expands its horizons to the degree of infinity and exhibits immaculate compassion for everyone being non-judgemental with all embracing empathy for the erring humanity lagging behind.
Such depth of spiritual feeling accepts everything as cosmic will, “Let Thy will be done.” There is nothing to ask for mortal self as we must first ‘seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness.’ Surrender to the Almighty extinguishes the flame of desires and thereby human bondage in body-mind complex.
Wisdom of the heart filled with fearless love accepts everything as divine design coming from the hands of God, be it apparently unpleasant or otherwise.
When our earthly worries and desires are entirely silenced at the still point of total surrender we become inwardly empty and infinite in God. Essence of spirituality is achievement of this total stillness which can be achieved through absolute surrender exemplified by Christ. From this depth of stillness springs the ultimate realisation, “I and my Father are one.” Identification with the Absolute with extinction of sense-bound self leads to the assimilation of the ultimate truth which alone makes us free. Cultivation of celestial love and absolute surrender to the will of the Almighty with deepest divine anchorage produces spiritual harmony and unblemished peace in realization of soul apart from the flesh in divine joy.
Once a woman, taken in adultery was brought before Christ for his final verdict on her punishment. As per Law of Moses she was to be stoned to death while Jesus prescribed forgiveness and kindness under all circumstances. Everybody was curious to see whether Jesus contradicts the Law of Moses or compromises with his own advice of forgiveness. Christ intelligently avoided the dilemma by saying, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.” The crowd dispersed convicted by their own conscience.
The vehemently afraid woman awaiting impending death asked, “Why have you saved my life? I deserved punishment being a sinner.” Compassionate Jesus said, “Go, and sin no more.” Forget the past and move forward. By the alchemy of his divine forgiveness she was instantly transformed. Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. Thus the New Testament was exemplified.
Once a man came to Jerusalem, the birthplace of Jesus during Christmas. He was delighted at the festive fanfare but was very much keen to see immortal Jesus in body and prayed for the same. In the night baby Jesus appeared before him and asked, “What have you brought for me as Christmas gift?” The overwhelmed devotee uttered, “I have brought my whole heart to give you.” Jesus said, “Very good. But won’t you give me something more?” The devotee replied, “I will give you all that I have and myself too.” Jesus said, “Excellent. But can’t you give me something more?”
The man was puzzled, “What more do I have to give you, my Lord?” Jesus smiled and said, “Why don’t you give me your sins as your Christmas gift?” With tearful eyes the man asked, “What will you do with my sins?” Jesus said, “I will forgive them all and relieve you of the burden of sins so that you may not look back and only move forward severing your psychological blocks and bondage with the sins.”
Christ committed his greatest miracle on cross. He was humiliated, tortured and crucified for spreading his spiritual wisdom. With every hammer on the nail for his crucifixion he uttered his immortal prayer ever heard by mankind, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
His first commandment was to develop unconditional love for God and also love for neighbours as extended self. By neighbours he meant the entire humanity. Such mystic love executes complete self-effacement and absolute surrender to the cosmic will, “Let Thy will be done.” This is the culmination of spiritual wisdom and also the ultimate stage of human devotion.
Jesus Christ prescribed the panacea for humanity for adoption by all beyond sectarian rituals. Light enters indiscriminately in any open space. So all we need to do is to keep our hearts open for entry of the said light of love and wisdom to enable us to enter the ‘kingdom of heaven‘ within and rest in unwavering peace in universal harmony and thereby facilitate resurrection of Christ within us in Christmas. Merry Christmas and happy New Year to everybody!
The writer is a columnist