Dear Friends,

This holy season comes, as always, on the last page of our calendar, as if to remind us to return to the Source of all beauty, goodness and joy. Celebrating the birth of Christ, within and without, is not only the culmination of our year’s spiritual adventures, it lays a foundation of hope and goodwill for the new year to come.

Let us hold firmly to that foundation in the months ahead, even-minded and cheerful throughout, for this next year is likely to prove highly contentious as we move closer to November’s presidential and congressional elections. No doubt it will be a show of fireworks and fury, and our job as devotees will be to remain as beacons of light to all. As one of Swami’s songs puts it:

“The Light that was Christ in darkness did shine.

‘Twas the Light that formed the heavens:

‘Twas the Light that shone in the blindest of hearts,

Making clear at last the way to inner peace.”

This year has seen its challenges for Ananda Portland as well. It began with a change in leadership and has seen the dream of Laurelwood end with a “For sale” sign on the property. But the underlying reality of God’s loving presence, and the blessing of five avatars leading us on the path to inner freedom, can be tangibly experienced in every part of Ananda Portland and in every Ananda gathering.

The spirit of Christmas was never meant to be only a seasonal experience. Its message of love and hope is for active daily expression. When we live that message, individually and together, “there’s joy in the heavens, a smile on the mountains, and melody sings everywhere.”

Attendance at our events and services is always greater at this time of year, but we urge you to make our temple your weekly home for inspiration and worship whenever possible. The world needs what our masters are asking us to receive, to reflect and to share.

Also, please consider starting to tithe, or increasing your tithe, to the Source of your inspiration. As Yogananda wrote and proved repeatedly, “Divine Abundance follows the law of service and generosity. Give to the world the best you have, and the best will come back to you.”

We hope you will join us, and all of our ministers, in dedicating yourself “ever more perfectly,” as we say, to awakening in God and to the work of Ananda, because, as Swamiji would remind us, there is nothing more important happening on this planet.

We are here to celebrate and to serve. There should be no difference between the two. May the joy of Christmas be yours throughout this holy month and in all months to come, and may the light that is Christ shine ever more brightly within you.

In divine friendship,

Surendra, Lorna, and our entire Ministry and staff

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