On Saturday 17 December 2011 a very special event took place at the Punjabi Community Centre in Swindon, Wiltshire, United Kingdom. It was a Christmas celebration and carol service organised by the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation UK. Nothing so special about that maybe, except that in the past all the SSSSO UK Christmas celebrations have been on a regional basis. 2011 was the first time it was ever held as a national event, and it was a blessing that it just happened to be held in region 7, which covers the area where I live. So, it was with great anticipation that I set off on that Saturday morning and drove the 22 miles or so to Swindon Punjabi Centre.
What never fails to amaze me whenever I attend a Sai event is the amount of sheer hard work and organisation that goes into them. Every minute detail is covered, and this event was no exception.
Because Christmas is, by and large, a Christian celebration, the organisers enlisted the services of two Christian Ministers to conduct the service AND we were also blessed with a gospel choir who travelled all the way down from Leicester. The event started with some devotees singing songs based on Christian Taize chanting. This was followed by the carol service. There then followed an interval for lunch where we feasted on traditional Western Christmas vegetables and stuffing, washed down with non-alcoholic red and white fizzy wine. Once again I feel I have to mention the tremendous hard work that was put in by the volunteer chefs and food servers in feeding the hungry hoards.
During the second part of the proceedings we were treated to the singing of the gospel choir, and the hilarious antics of “Santa” who blessed us by making a surprise appearance. Our wonderful Omnipresent Swami, Sri Sathya Sai Baba made his presence felt throughout the afternoon, and I for one had great difficulty joining in properly with the singing because our Lord constantly filled my heart with his love and my eyes kept filling up with tears.
I also feel that I need to mention here the amazing Patrick (of whom I have spoken in a previous post. Please click on the link to view this post https://richardfholmes.wordpress.com/2011/09/10/sri-sathya-sai-baba-never-forgets-his-children-part-one/ ) As usual, speaking to Patrick was a great inspiration, but I was also amazed yet again at what he told me. If you look at the photo of the stage (above) you will notice the white figures. Well, dear Patrick, noted for his stagecraft skills, was asked at short notice if he could come up with something for the event; and he most certainly did. This amazing man made those figures, working late at night and early morning because he also has a day job. With another colleague he set off from Bath very early in the morning whilst most of us were still in dreamland, in order to arrive in good time at The Punjabi Centre so that the stage could be erected.
I know that it is not Sai policy to single out individuals for special praise, and this is why I want to end this post by mentioning once again the incredible work that all the organizers and volunteers put into this event. As well as the lovely food we were also kept supplied with as much tea, coffee and soft drinks as we needed and there was also the usual sweets and cakes. The Sri Sathya Sai Book Shop, based in North London, also sent some representatives to set up a makeshift shop. I personally acquired two wonderful photos taken from Swami’s final darshan and a fantastic book of spiritual quotes taken from the religions of the world.
Dear friends as we get ready to celebrate this very special time of the year and then welcome in 2012, we should bare in mind that for all of us as individual beings of spirit, our own personal Christmas day will be the day we awaken the Christ Consciousness within ourselves.