Ananda Family News

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas and Christmas Eve

At Sunday Service yesterday, Shanti spoke very beautifully about the holy-day season at Ananda. This month and a half or so is filled to bursting with events and activities, but also with divine love and joy. The Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services are particularly special, in very different ways.

Christmas Eve is a very sweetly inward time. We came together in the temple at 8 PM, when the whole world is already settling into that silent, holy night, which gives the group meditation its own special feel, even compared to the all-day meditation last week. The lights are kept low and focused on the altar, and you can feel as though you never stop meditating, even throughout the entire service. And we each got a chance, in the Festival of Light, to carry our candles to the altar and personally offer up our own little lights into Christ's blazing light of infinity.

Christmas Day, on the other hand, is the day for story-telling and pageantry. Asha tells the story of Jesus's birthday in a way that makes the meaning of it accessible to all the children of the extended Ananda family. (Many adults have also said they were delighted to find that they understand the story better themselves this way!)
And of course it's all more fun if it's participatory. We had angels and wise men and shepherds of all ages on stage helping to present the story. And at the end, the audience gets to come forward to greet the baby Jesus and receive blessings from the whole holy cast of characters.
We rounded off the festivities with a Christmas banquet and entertainment. A special treat this year was the singing of O Holy Night. While the assembled banqueters sang, Saranya and her family performed it in sign language for us. Beautiful!

[More pictures here: Christmas EveChristmas Day, and Christmas Day batch II. Thanks to intrepid photographers Karen, David G., Tanya, and Daya!]

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