It is Christmas Eve. A magical day when anticipation lays in the hearts of children everywhere. I remember Christmas Eves of my past, when my mother would spend hours in her bedroom wrapping presents from “Santa” and the anticipation I felt that day and night.
Sleeping on Christmas Eve was impossible. Just thinking of the unknown riches I would see under the tree in the morning kept me awake. I knew there would be a doll. There was always a doll, me being a girl. I just didn’t know which doll would join my little play family that year.
Anticipation of Christmas didn’t end as I reached my teen-age years. Then I knew that the doll wouldn’t be there but that new clothes would. Poor Mom, picking out clothes for me as a gift (after she’d made them for so many years) would have to face the fact on Christmas Day that I either didn’t like them or couldn’t wear them. Buying clothes for a teen-ager is dangerous.
I was a babysitter for a family who used to live in the house behind us. I was able to buy gifts with the money I earned. The anticipation of Christmas was also in the excitement of seeing what my mother and father thought of their gifts. I tried hard to get something they’d love.
As a young mother, buying toys from Santa for my son and my step-son was exciting. I overdid it, I know. They had so many toys, since we were a two-paycheck family and could afford to splurge a little. I remember one year when my son was 3, we took all the presents from Santa and went to visit my mother and father. It was a trip of around 400 miles. Everything was packed in my tiny compact car, but we all fit so it was good.
Mom and Dad had bought my son a Fisher-Price vacuum cleaner. He loved to help “Roooom Roooom” when we would vacuum at home.
We opened our gifts on Christmas Eve which was a tradition because it allowed my parents to sleep Christmas morning. After I was old enough to know that Santa was my parents, they felt no need to get up at 4:00 a.m. to watch me open presents!
At 1 a.m. on the morning of Christmas Day, when my husband and I, my stepson and my parents were fast asleep, we heard this noise coming from the living room. My son was up and he was “room-rooming” the rug. We had to hide the toy vacuum cleaner in the closet to get him back to bed! I guess he loved that toy.
Those are the kinds of memories we all have that make us think Christmas has lost something now. It hasn’t. We have just lost the anticipation, the fun of surprising our loved ones, the sparkle of Christmas.
In all the gift-giving and anticipation, we have lost the main anticipation. The anticipation of the birth of Jesus was the first anticipation. He is reborn every year into our hearts at Christmas. We need only center ourselves in that anticipation to feel His love for us, the love of his Father and Mother for us.
One of my most beloved saints wrote
Let us make this Christmas a real celebration of the birth of the holy child by striving to realize the consciousness which he attained.
Let us make this celebration an uplifting and spiritual experience.
Let us not for a moment forget the one whose birthday is being commemorated while in our zeal we go about the joyful and exciting preparation for the happy festivities.
Let us use this occasion as a new impetus to inspire us on the Christ-path of truth and love.
Let us use it as an opportunity to express the Universal Christ-love for all people and all creatures-exalted and lowly, near and far, large and small, known and unknown.
While we are remembering the physical birth of the baby Christ Jesus, let us realize his eternal loving presence in omnipresent Christ Consciousness, which is always with us no matter where we are or what we are doing.
Let us resolve anew to discipline ourselves-to control our bodies, our minds, and our emotions-and to strive ever toward Christ understanding.
Let us establish the Prince of Peace consciousness as our inner ruler, that we may meet our crosses and tests of life with power, victory, and tranquility.
Let us meditate until we perceive the Infinite Christ reigning in our own hearts.
Let us learn to love those who love us not; and to forgive those who do ill against us.
Let us break all our mental boundaries of color, creed, and nationality, and receive all-even our inanimate and animal brothers-in the endless, all-embracing arms of our Christ Consciousness. This will be a true and fitting celebration of the coming of Jesus Christ to this earth.
Let us rejoice and give thanks for this wonderful gift of light and love from the Great Giver.
Peace. Joy. Peace. Paramahansa Yogananda
We need to heed his words today and every day. We, all of us, need now to quit fighting with each other, accept the present, anticipate the future with good will and love. We need to quit hating each other. Hate has no place in your heart when peace is there. It is only by removing hate from our hearts, from our minds, that we can see the good in all and the All in everything.
Walk away from hate, leave it nowhere to fester and grow. Love one another as Jesus said, by doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Mindfully accept your present. Not just your presents – those gifts in your life from God – but the present that is here now. If we live in the present, mindfully and with love, our futures will be magical. Merry Christmas.