Christmas Eve – December 24, 2019 (Evening)
The festival of Love and Joy brought with it several beautiful moments of cheer celebrating the company of the Lord. On the eve of Christmas Day, the emphasis was on introspection. This being a season of reflection, the evening’s programme began with the message of turning the focus inward.
A soulful musical offering was given by the Sai Love and Joy International Choir. With devotees from eighteen countries including Australia, Singapore, Italy, El Salvador, USA, Netherlands, Croatia and many more, it was a true union of cultures. They offered twelve gospel songs, carols and many more Christmas songs. Despite being untrained musicians, the singers won the Lord over with their unsullied love and complete devotion.
Christmas Celebrations – December 25, 2019 (Morning)
The majestic Premamrutham auditorium was beautifully decked up for Christmas with a magnificent tree and delightful decorations all through. Swami was presented a Christmas themed cake while several Sarva Dharma Bhajans and Carols were being sung the students and staff of the Sathya Sai Loka Seva Educational Institutions. The day’s events began with the holy recital of ‘The Lord’s Prayer’.
As is the annual tradition, devotees from Singapore offered carols and songs, spreading cheer to one and all present. The much awaited arrival of Santa Claus in a procession led by the little students dressed as reindeers saw every person in the audience exude their inner child.
Swami went on stage to bless all the devotees, and stressed on the message of Love and Service. “One person’s birth on this day, brought so much of joy, peace, love and light to generations of people across the world. This is how one’s birth should be, and Christ teaches us how to spread JOY on earth – i.e. Jesus first, Others next and Yourself last – JOY.” Swami expressed His immense love for the Singapore devotees praising them for their beautiful singing, despite not being professional singers. “They sing only to make God happy. The message of Christmas is to forget differences and treat everyone like our own selves. We can love everyone by seeing all as Swami. Jesus began as a messenger of God; He then became the Son of God and finally said that He and God are one. Thus this festival celebrates the spirit of Oneness.”
When one of the devotees asked how they could all become like Swami, Swami was quick to reply that they are all already Him. “Remove that which is not Me and what is left will be Swami Himself.” With this beautiful message of Love and Oneness, the morning celebrations came to a close.
Christmas Celebrations – December 25, 2019 (Evening)
The evening programme was centered around the invigorating performance by the Sai Angels brass band from Muddenahalli. Ably led by God’s own musician, Mr Dimitris Lambrianos along with his students performed several Christmas songs starting with Jingle Bell Rock. It is indeed endearing to see how these children, as young as 12 years, perform so confidently while exuding much love and devotion for their Lord. It is even more endearing to see how one person can teach all these instruments single handedly every single time. The performance concluded with Swami’s very own ‘Love is My Form’, leaving the audience charged with the spirit of Christmas. Swami’s bright smile was a testament to His happiness and satisfaction, as He expressed His extreme joy by blessing all the students with gifts. After Mangala Arati, Swami retired back to His residence.