Christmas Eve with Br. Shantamrita Chaitanya

On December 24, 2017, Christmas Eve, the time of festivities and spiritual enlightenment, was celebrated at the Dallas Ashram with Br. Shantamrita Chaitanya. This holiday was celebrated with joyful activities as families and friends came together as one large family. Every year for thousands of years, people praised God and set aside this auspicious day to give to their loved ones and to their society. At the ashram, people gathered to for an afternoon full of traditions to remember and practice the meaning and examples of Jesus’ life.  
The ashram was decorated with Christmas colors from decorative ornaments to the colored-coordinated outfits of the devotees. The morning started with a webcast of Amritapuri celebrations where Amma gave her Christmas message: “When the disciples heart becomes empty of all selfish desires. Like an empty manger, there his guru, his savior, is born. This is the Christmas message.” The afternoon commenced as everyone gathered to around to perform and enjoy Christmas Carols as per their yearly Christmas tradition. Hot chocolate, cider and tea was prepared and served to all who attended.
Soon after Christmas Caroling, Br. Shantamrita Chaitanya began his Christmas Satsang. He started off by reminding all the devotees that the true meaning of Christmas lies far beyond gift giving and receiving. Christmas was and should be the day that people remember God. Using Jesus as an example, Shantamrita Swami proceeded to showcase how his actions became examples of the kind of life people in the past observed and practiced. Today, people pay more attention to the materialistic aspects of Christmas more than its spiritual roots.
He continued to talk about how today, we have Amma to show us the true way of life along with its meaning for all those who yearn to know it. It is up to us to use Amma’s action as an example every day as it would bring us closer to fulfilling our duties to God, the Guru, our Ancestors, our Society and other beings on a daily basis.
The Satsang was concluded with a story from Swami’s recent experience at Amritapuri. During darshan a few months ago, a boy in Amritapuri took it upon himself to  assist the those in charge of token line to speed up the process for people waiting in line to receive a cup of tea. All he wanted to do was ensure that everyone got a cup of tea that night regardless of their monetary capabilities so he stood and helped those around him for hours. Despite being only 4 years old, he proved that people can serve others regardless of age and that any task, big or small, makes a difference.
Following his inspirational Christmas talk, Br. Shantamrita Chaitanya proceeded to sing devotional songs late into the evening. Shortly after, dinner was served to all who attended, concluding this year’s Christmas Eve celebrations at the Dallas Ashram.