Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

If we want to make all our days holy days we should think of the inspiring thoughts of the great sages and saints. Otherwise, when we celebrate this holiday season, it will be just once a year fun. Instead, let us utilize the season to reaffirm that we wish to lead lives filled with love and our minds filled with peace. Then you are truly a religious person, a spiritual person—whether you are a Jew, a Christian, or you are celebrating Kwanzaa and honoring the meaningful principles of a beautiful culture.

Yes, to be religious or spiritual is very simple. When we say, “May the Christ be born” or when we light the menorah, what does this mean? It means: “May you recognize the Light in you. May we tear up the veil and see the Light.” And with that Light we certainly will see nothing but Light everywhere. It is only then that we can also have unconditional love.

To love unconditionally, we have to learn how to sacrifice or rise above the little selfish ego. We have to learn to see God’s face in every atom in the whole world. When we want peace and happiness then we should also give peace and happiness. And we should not take away somebody else’s peace and happiness.

 Beloved friends, that’s what I would love to tell you during this holy season. Holy days should remind us of our inherent Divine nature, our inherent peace and joy, which is called, in religious terms, “the image of God” within you.

Whatever names are given to this Truth—God, Consciousness, Being, Christ, Allah, Shekinah, Siva, Shakti—they are not different. They are all just different names for that one Truth. Whatever be the holy occasion, it is there to remind us and to renew our awareness of that Truth that we are the image of God.

At least during these holy days we should raise above these differences and recognize the spiritual oneness we all share. Unfortunately, even in the name of religion we have somehow injected these differences. But, the real purpose of religion is to remind us of our spiritual oneness.

All these celebrations and festivities are simply aids. They help us to remember these truths. This season may be a time in which you put up your tree, decorate your homes, light the menorah, exchange gifts, and so on. But, it should not just stop there. If, after the celebrations you awaken a little different person, a little better person, with a more peaceful mind and loving heart, then you really have celebrated these holidays as holy days.

May you recognize the Light in you. Look within, experience that joy, that peace, that holyday spirit. Let these holy days bring this awareness to you so that you can celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and all the holy days every day of your life. That is my sincere wish for each of you. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda