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Christmas eve 2002

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Christmas with Sai

Posterity will perhaps be envious of our good fortune that we are celebrating and enjoying Christmas in the living and loving presence of the One who send the Christ to us, to save the world and to guide humanity on the path divine. Undoubtedly, it was an unforgettable and exhilarating experience that no words can possibly describe.

The celebrations of a white and memorable Christmas in the divine presence began on the afternoon of 24 December in the Sai Kulwant Hall in Prasanthi Nilayam --the abode of highest peace and love. Today, for all those who seek the proximity of the Lord Christ and want to see His love in action, all roads lead to Prasanthi Nilayam. The huge congregation of oversees devotees from all over the world that assembled at this holiest of holy lands on this day was a living testimony to this.

The Hall was discerningly decorated by the devotees on the 23rd evening. The selection of the ornamentations and their impeccable display was a vivid evidence of their desire to please the Lord and was an expressive outpouring of their love. The golden braids on red velvet that covered the pillars seemed to be declaring the dawn of the golden age of Sai. The beautiful stars were symbolic of the nearing dawn of Love, when we would all unite in the brotherhood of man and fatherhood of Sai. The little angles that held out the candles of love added a special import to the milieu. The scenes of the birth of the Christ in the manger, displayed on either side of Bhagawan's chair seemed like beckoning one and all to be reborn in the Sai Consciousness and redeem one's life.

In spite of all the decorations in the hall of golden hue, there was a perceptible feeling of something missing, a feeling of expectation and readiness. And lo! with the starting of the instrumental melodies, that gap was replaced with a feeling of fullness and anxiety of being able to grasp and contain that fullness in the cupped palms of one's heart. The Lord came to the Sai Kulwant Hall at 2.35. As He passed by the path between the overseas ladies devotees and the primary school children, there was an audible murmur of excitement and a thousand hands were seen held-up as a sign of expectancy. But the Lord cut across from between the overseas devotees, blessed them profusely by accepting letters and materialising the sacred vibhooti, and came up to the beautiful dais where a fawn coloured chair had been laid.

The Lord first went inside the interview room which too was surrounded by Christmas trees, candles and beatific decorations of various hues and colours. The mirrors on the decorations appeared to be exhorting all to look within oneself and realise their own true nature. As the Lord came out and sat on the chair, there was a thunderous applause from the devotees, as if they were now assured that the Lord had taken a permanent seat in their hearts and will see them through the vicissitudes of life. All hands folded in thanksgiving for the great opportunity of being blessed with the precious opportunity of being in the Divine presence on this very holy day.

The programme started at 3.15 p.m. with the lighting of the candles by the divine hands. Children then came up to the Lord and offered their hearts to their Divine father in the form of flowers. One child showed the newborn Christ in a basket, and the Lord asked it to be placed in the manger to His left. Starting with three Omkars, the choir programme then made its auspicious beginning.

After a prayer to their 'Sweet Lord Ganesha' to grant them the wisdom and strength, the little angles rolled out, one after another heart warming carols that left each enthralled and joyous in the true spirit of Christmas. The little modifications to the original numbers by bringing in Sai's name were specially appreciated by the audience. In their musical prayers, the children prayed to the Lord to be the light of their lives. The dedicated efforts of both the children and the elders who trained them were evident when they sang in perfect harmony. The renderings that outpoured from their pure and untainted hearts moved the audience and made the Lord joyous as He looked at them lovingly and kept beat with their rhythms.

The next phase of the programme started when two lady devotees presented roses to the Lord, seeking blessings for the ensuing programme. From "Sweet surrender" and "Gloria" to "Sing Halleluiah to our Sai" and "I will love you more and more", the rhapsody of perfected rhythms coupled with the exuberance of the devoted hearts ended with the prayer that "And may all your Christmases be with Sai". After this fabulous programme that came straight from and touched the hearts of one and all present there, starting 4.30 p.m. there were bhajans by overseas devotees in Hindi, even as the Lord oversaw the distribution of sweets as 'prasadam' to the devotees. At 5.00 p.m. with offering of "Aarthi" to Bhagawan, a memorable day's programme came to an end.