On 10th December 2017, members of the SSIO of UK from South West England and Wales participated in annual National Christmas Celebrations at Princess Hall, Cheltenham Ladies College. The event, themed “Harmony: the Hallmark of Humanness,” opened with a welcome address by the President of the SSIO of UK, followed by a Christmas service following the traditional lines of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Christmas carols. Readings from the Holy Bible were beautifully intertwined with the carols, together relating the joyful story of the holy advent of Lord Jesus. The magical and uplifting ambience in the hall during the service crescendo into the final carol, “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” The service concluded with a Christmas sermon delivered by Anne Ryan of Taunton, Somerset, inspiring all with the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Volunteers served the homeless by offering food at the local Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and a food bank run by a local charity, Caring for Communities and People. SSIO members gifted non-perishable food items to support these food banks who serve those in need of basic living essentials. The day ended with a visit by the children’s favourite Christmas character, Father Christmas. Despite the cold weather and snow, members of the Sathya Sai community thoroughly enjoyed the day with its devotional and service activities and inspirational speakers, leaving everyone uplifted and peaceful.