Ananda Family News

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Celebrations

On the weekend leading up to Christmas, we celebrated inwardly by following Yogananda’s tradition of holding an all-day meditation. Some hundred or so meditators filled the temple for eight hours, meditating with occasional breaks for chanting and listening to recordings of both Master and Swamiji, and their music. The photos capture the lovely, astral quality of the day.

Our Christmas Eve service is the bridge that connects our inner observation of “spiritual Christmas” with the outer events and celebrations that the season honors. In an extended Festival of Light, we watched the whole Christmas story unfold before us in glorious pageantry, but the bhav throughout was one of deep and reverent devotion. Photos of Christmas Eve are here.

Then finally, Christmas Day itself. Our “family service” (well-loved by all ages) enacted the story again, narrated by Asha, in a more exuberantly Christmas-morning mood, with various children, parents, and friends taking part as shepherds, angels, wise men, and even musicians.

And to top it all off, our Christmas banquet followed the morning service. For entertainment, Steven and Tandava enacted a rather different but nonetheless entertaining story: “The Amazing Hat Mystery,” by P. G. Wodehouse. (If you missed it and are wondering how we solved a mystery like those hats... well, it was either the fourth dimension or a Christmas miracle.) All the Christmas Day photos are here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas Music

It’s December! And, as always, our Christmas season at Ananda comes with an almost continual soundtrack of glorious music.

The kickoff this year was the choir’s Christmas Concert, which we held after service on the 6th (lunch provided). Along with some of our favorites of Swami Kriyananda’s Christmas music, we also  enjoyed pieces by Bach, Rachmaninov, Holst, Billings, and more. So much good music has been written over the centuries in honor of Jesus’s birthday, which makes this a fun way for the choir to branch out a bit and learn some new pieces. And it’s pleasing to think that someday perhaps there will be an equally broad and illustrious repertoire written by devotees of Yogananda.

If you’re looking at the photos and wondering what’s going on there at the end, we’re singing “Lord of the Dance.” So naturally that requires some dancing, and the choir can hardly be expected to do it all themselves. Check out the video of the entire concert if you want the full effect.

This past Sunday, a number of families came on stage and led us in singing “Joy to the World.” They’d been practicing this recently at our monthly Family Service. (If you’ve got kids and aren’t coming to this already, you should definitely check it out on the first Saturday of each month.) More pictures of the kids are here.

Also this weekend we had our Members’s Christmas double-party (double because it takes two nights and we still barely squeezed everyone in). What portions of Chela Bhavan weren’t packed with devotees were filled with food, and then we poured Christmas carols over the whole thing to fill in the cracks. Which of course got us all warmed up for next Sunday’s caroling trip that we’ll take around the neighborhood. (So if you’re still up for more singing, that’s your next chance!) Party photos are here.

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