The Birth of Jesus
At Christmas celebrations around the world, Christians and spiritual aspirants celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Over 2000 years ago on this day, a young couple, Mary and Joseph, travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register for the census as required by the Roman emperor. Mary was about to deliver her baby, the town was crowded and the only accommodation they could find was in a stable amongst the animals. Here, in these humble surroundings, was born the child who was to be known as the saviour of the world. Jesus manifested love for all mankind and through His life and message, demonstrated His divinity.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon some country shepherds,
Watching their flock by night and the glory of the Lord shone about them,
And they were sore afraid. The angel said to them:
Fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a saviour,
Who is Christ the Lord and this shall be a sign to you: You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was, with the angel, a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying:
Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace and good will toward men!
The Holy Bible, St. Luke, Chapter 2, Verses 2-14
The Holy Bible proclaimed the power of love of God in sending His son to earth to live a life of sacrifice for the redemption of humankind. Jesus came amongst us to show love, compassion and humility at a time when these qualities had diminished. 1926 years later, Sathya Sai Baba took human birth to uplift all again by awakening humanity to their divine reality.
Jesus taught simple, practical lessons in spiritual advancement for the good of mankind. He manifested Divine powers to instil faith in the validity of his teachings. He marked out the path that can confer on men the sweet nectar of bliss. He exhorted people, by his teachings and example, to cultivate the virtues of charity, compassion, forbearance, love and faith. These are not separate, distinct qualities; they are only some of the many facets of the Divine in man which he has to recognise and develop.
Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 11, December 24, 1972
The Meaning of Divine Birth
God has incarnated in human form in order to inspire man to follow higher ideals - not only in India, but foreign countries also. Men have many different languages and life- styles; but God is one and He is present everywhere. All religions speak of Him as love and as attainable through love. Forms of worshipping God differ, for they are shaped by time and place; but love is the basic content of all forms. The language of love is understood and spoken by all hearts. There is only one race really, and that is the race of mankind. That was the life and message of Jesus; nurture it in your hearts. Experience Jesus as your Messenger sent from God.
Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 14, December 25, 1979
Here, Sathya Sai Baba underlines the unity of faiths as expressed in the language of love, which is in every human heart and is understood by all. He emphasises that this was the message of Jesus and is the unifying thread of all religions. At this time in history, this message of love is vitally needed to be understood and practised and is the very reason why God incarnates from age to age. God is one and God is love. All is divine.
Celebrate the Birth of Jesus
Sathya Sai Baba encouraged all to celebrate the birth of Jesus, indicating that the great teachers belong to all mankind. He urged that the best way to celebrate this day is to adhere to His teachings, be loyal to the principles, to practise the disciplines and to experience awareness of the divine which He sought to arouse.
Every year on Christmas Day at Prasanthi Nilayam, Sathya Sai Baba gave a discourse on the message of Christmas, honouring the life and love of Jesus and urging all to experience the unity and power of love.
The Power of the Love of Sai
Throughout His discourses Sathya Sai Baba frequently referred to the power of love and to the power inherent in the yearning for unity and oneness.
In this gathering, people from many countries, speaking many languages, belonging to many races, are present. They are all single-mindedly united in love for Sai and in love from Sai, in spite of differences in nationality, race, creed, colour and dress. This is my real task. This is the consummation of the yearnings of the ancient seers and sages of this land. Develop this Oneness, this Unity in love, hold it ever before you as the ideal.
Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 14 Ch. 55, November 19, 1980
Both Sathya Sai Baba and Jesus Christ taught that the pathway to attain God is through love. Christmas is the time when we can immerse ourselves in these teachings and give thanks for the gift of life and blessings of the divine teachings manifested through Jesus. My most sacred experience of Christmas has been at Prasanthi Nilayam where I felt blessed to be amongst people from many lands, races and cultures coming together to celebrate the birth of Christ in the divine abode of highest peace. This temple of love has absorbed the love and devotion of many souls over many years and resounds with this love, which is available to all who enter and open their heart to the holiness and sacredness. At Christmas we celebrate God’s love for humanity singing
“Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace and good will toward men!”
I wish you all a happy and holy Christmas.