Text size: A A A

Please Click Here
to Return to
Love and Light

National Christmas Celebrations 2014 "Love came down at Christmas"

The national Christmas Celebrations of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation UK were a joyful and heart-warming affair this year as they wove together three strands which encapsulate not only Christmas but also the work of the organisation (born of the vision of Sai Baba) - children, giving and love. It was my privilege to speak at the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols where the children ably assisted me in telling the tale of a small mouse who arrives to see the baby Jesus with no gift. At first the mouse is left out in the cold, made to feel a second-class citizen. Finally, in his eagerness to see the babe, he climbs the stable door and climbs half way through a knot hole and in so doing stops the draught which was blowing on the baby Jesus, much to the delight of Mary and Joseph. The mouse afterwards tells a friend who is sceptical about his lack of gift, ' I gave him me for as long as he needed me'.

That was the end of the story for the little mouse but only the beginning for us as we were reminded with childlike simplicity that our response to the greatest gift of all is to give of ourselves for as long as God needs us. Often though our motives for giving can be very mixed and find themselves coloured by pride or guilt or show, when ideally our motive should be love. A beautiful (but not often sung) Christmas carol 'Love came down at Christmas' expresses how God's love was shown to us in the giving of his Son in his birth at Christmas:

Love came down at Christmas; Love all lovely, Love divine.
Love was born at Christmas, star and angels gave the sign.

In becoming a little child, God became a gift to us and to all mankind and he showed us love in its purest form. My slender knowledge of the vision of Sai Baba is that very basic equation which Jesus came to show us - that our hearts are made to love and that we shall be most fulfilled when we love and, in that loving, when we give of ourselves in the service of others. Like the mouse, we may not be blessed with much in material terms, but even the longing to give is recognised by God and transformed by him into something of worth. The third verse of that same carol runs:

Love shall be our token; Love be yours and love be mine.
Love to God and all men; Love for plea and gift and sign.

There was, in fact, no shortage of giving on the day as the 400 or so who had travelled from all over the UK to be at the Christmas Celebrations had brought hundreds of items to be donated to the Food Banks and Refuge UK who were also there for the day. And as for love, apart from its evidence in all the joyfulness and hospitality of the day, George Bebedelis, Director of the European Institute of Sathya Sai Education had come all the way from Athens to seamlessly and knowledgeably take up that theme...

Reverend K McClure