December 27, 2010 – “The Spirit of Christmas” by Overseas Devotees

God does things which we do not understand. And He does not do things so that we understand. He does them with absolute dispassion and then seeing the passions and emotions the act arouses in man, elevates man to His status where he too is absolutely dispassionate about it. As someone beautifully put it, “God is most involved yet detached!” In this regard, December 26 was a very significant day. It was the day when the third day of Christmas celebrations had been scheduled. Swami arrived and sat for bhajans, but then, never asked for the programme to begin. Finally He received aarthi and left after reading letters all the while.

There were tears in many eyes that day. But, as a teacher from the University put it, “When it comes to faith, you either have it or you don’t. We have to attain faith and once we do that, we shall never cry for we know that all is for our good!” Just before He left, Swami told Mr. Behner that He would see the drama the next day. Thus it was that on December 27, everything was ready for the drama and the children’s choir.

At 6:20 p.m., Swami arrived for darshan in the car. He took the ‘right’ turn after the ladies’ block and headed towards the Super Specialty Hospital where He blessed a patient due to undergo surgery. An interesting episode was narrated by the security guard who had the privilege of escorting Swami during this visit. He said that a dog started running behind Swami’s car ever since they neared the hospital. It was not barking or chasing but just running along with the car. No efforts to shoo it away proved effective. It seemed to disappear into the darkness when the car was parked, only to reappear when Swami started back! For almost a few hundred metres outside the hospital, till the cars sped away, the dog followed the Lord with dogged determination. This elicited a Divine smile too. The guard was simply thrilled that he had witnessed the expression of great devotion!

Swami returned to the Mandir when it was nearing 8 p.m. Completing the darshan round, He arrived on the stage. He immediately asked, “Drama? Start drama.” The initial offerings and blessings were complete and then the presentation began. It started with two songs after which the drama came into play!

The programme entitled ‘The Spirit of Christmas’ was an enactment of the life of Jesus Christ. Set against the backdrop of a Christian home in the thick of Christmas celebrations, it was about  a little boy, Billy. Having lost faith, Billy was disinterested in the whole of the festive affair. His family goes into prayer mode seeking Swami’s intervention and in response comes Billy’s Guardian Angel and the Spirit of the Past. After a journey to the past in Bethlehem and the gift of a ‘present’ day visit to Prashanti, Billy is transformed. That Christmas turns out to be the best ever for the family.

The children sang songs and carols as part of the drama and also as its background score. Swami saw the whole programme and as it became late into the night, He asked, “How much longer is the drama?” Minutes after this, the whole programme concluded and Swami said that He would move down the stage to pose with the children for photographs. Even as He was amidst them, He spoke to a few of them and some of them had the blessed opportunity to take padanamaskar. Arriving on the stage, Swami asked for aarthi after which He asked for an encore of the Samastha Lokhaha chant. There are those days when He wants the prayer for peace chanted again and one only can wonder about its deep meaning and significance.

Swami blessed ber fruits for distribution as prasadam. He gave one fruit to Mr. Behner too. After witnessing the distribution for a while, Swami moved towards His residence. It was now 9 p.m.

Earlier in the morning, as part of the Christmas celebrations, a Multi-Faith Worship Programme was organised at the double decker building, next to the Book Stall. Titled "We Are One", the programme had representation from all major religions, namely, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, etc. Presided over by Fr. Charles Ogada of Nigeria, donning the mantle of Master of Ceremonies, the programme that had good turnout of devotees had light meditation session, Universal Prayer, Holy Communion and prasadam distribution.

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