Recently we attended a Christmas concert here at Ananda Village which was resplendent in its simplicity, with beautiful pieces by Swami Kriyananda as well as some traditional carols. I wasn’t raised a Christian, but somehow love for Christ has always been a part of me. For as long as I can remember I’ve felt special blessings at Christmastime: a unique combination of humility and gentleness, as well as infinite kindness, compassion, and love.
During the concert last week, two of our gifted musicians performed Swamiji’s song, “The Shawl of Gold.”* It tells the story of a poor girl on a cold, wintry night who approaches a rich man about to enter a church, to ask him for help in finding work. He pompously sends this “impious girl” off into the frigid night.
As she wanders forlornly away, she spies a little boy even poorer than herself huddled against a doorway. Feeling deep compassion, she gives him the only thing she has to spare—her threadbare shawl. And then a miracle takes place.
She and the small boy are encircled by warmth, and she hears a tender voice comforting and reassuring her that all their needs will be met.
The voice then says:
My child, all men’s sorrows would turn to joy,
If they knew that to share is no loss.
For it’s kindness broadens the human heart:
I know, I, who died on the cross!
I’ve heard this song many times over the years. Often it has brought tears to my eyes as I feel the simple yet infinite love that is Christ Consciousness.
In this holiday season, let’s all remember the true meaning of Christmas as symbolized by this beautiful song. We are here on earth to learn how to love as the great masters love: with no thought of self; no concern for personal gain or loss; no barriers towards others, be they wise or foolish.
Swami Kriyananda sent a Christmas letter to Ananda in 1987, in which he shared this inspiration that had come to him during a just-completed period of seclusion:
Love all mankind in God! Become transformed, not only by His love, but into His love! It is not enough to hold this divine inspiration of love as your own secret treasure. Let God, through you, reach out and touch the hearts of all!
Let us help bring the Christ Consciousness down to earth by giving whatever we can to others: a smile, perhaps; a comforting word; or a gift to someone alone and unremembered. Let’s give our threadbare cloak of love to another in need, and, like the little girl in the song, see how God transforms it into a shawl of fine gold.
With joy in God, Christ, and Guru,
*You can listen to (or download) the song here. Swami Kriyananda was ever new, and just months before his passing he made a number of changes to his song lyrics. No time remained to him to record the new versions, however. Others have recorded those, but we thought you might enjoy hearing Swamiji himself sing the song.