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Never is Amritapuri filled with more of Amma's devotees from the West than during Christmas.

25 December 2005

Each year people from America, Europe, Australia and other parts of the Western world come all the way across the globe to spend their winter holidays with Amma. Many of them only get 10 days off from work, but still out of their love for Amma make the pilgrimage, which can take as many as 40 hours each way.

"The message of Christmas is the life of Jesus Christ itself," Amma told the devotees gathered to celebrate the holiday. "It is said that God is the embodiment of infinite divine values. At the same time, God is beyond words and the mind. It is through the lives of Mahatmas that we are able to directly experience the divinity of God. Mahatmas teach us through their own lives. Christ was the embodiment of love, self-sacrifice and humility.

Surrender towards God and love towards the world—both of these qualities shined through him. He took birth in a barn, worked hard in life and lived in an ordinary hut. Though materially he had nothing, he was the embodiment of prosperity."

His love for God was the source of that prosperity. Spiritual life is said to be like walking on a razor's edge. He underwent difficult tests. But he never faltered. So steadfast was his faith! He knew that he would have to pay a great price for his efforts to uplift the world. As fearless as he was, he never withdrew. He became ready to bear the cross for the sake of the world. He lived the qualities of love, compassion and self-sacrifice. He demonstrated through his own life how a spiritual aspirant should move forward even when surrounded by obstacles. Having his sights firmly fixed on God, he never desired a certificate from the world. Only after having imparted his message did he bid farewell to the world.

"Be innocent and humble like little children, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them," advised Christ. What Christ was saying was that heaven is not a place of material pleasures. It is a world full of eternal bliss, love and compassion. He also taught the world to see God in everybody and to love one's neighbor as oneself. He even forgave, and prayed for, those who crucified him. He conveyed the message that God-realization is the goal of life and that devotion coupled with self-sacrifice and love for humankind is the way to reach that goal. That love and self-sacrifice was his message. That is also the message of Christmas.

When our hearts become filled with love and self-sacrifice, Christ takes birth there within. That is the real Christmas celebration.

May the hearts of my children be filled with love and the spirit of self-sacrifice. May divine grace be always upon you.

Amma watches the Christmas performances
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