During the 2nd week of advent, there was a special combined service in the Bosch Hall of Ghala at 9:30am. It was a service of scripture and carols with choirs and instumentalists. Like the beginning of every Friday morning 9am service, Pastor Jack Buteyn led the children of the PCO in a short song before sending them off for “Sunday Friday school”. The song he taught them this time was, “I am a C…I am a CH…I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N. And I have C-H-R-I-S-T in my H-E-A-R-T and I will L-I-V-E-T-E-R-N-A-L-L-Y.” Cute stuff and the kids loved it! Dr. Ebenezer leading his choirs, The Muscat Men’s Chorus and Muscat Christian Harmony, during their “Christmas Lullaby“. The Muscat Singers singing “Carol of the Bells“. The 3rd choir, which you can only see a few members of in this photo on the far left, is the British School Community Choir. I was not in a good spot to capture their photo so unfortunately that’s all there is. Susan Ebenezer doing one of the 11 readings during the service. The reading I was most impressed with was a reading/song by Vinoo Peppin/Carina Krogh. (I really wish I captured that on video!) Here is the text they read/sang: Silent Night / I heard them sing the beatiful carol, Silent Night. How lovely the sound. But, on another occasion I also heard them cry out, “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.” Holy Night / On that holy night long ago, a star led shepherds and wise men to the manger. Yet on another night some thirty years later, the same stars shone down showing the way for soldiers and thugs to Gethsemane. All is calm / The calmness of the night of Your birth brings to mind the calmness You showed, as all about you throng demanded Your death. All is bright / The reverent brightness of that nights contrasts the darkness which came over the whole land until the ninth hour. For the sun stopped shining, and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Round yon virgin, mother and Child / The image of one at peace. Yet now I see You on that cross, LORD. Those long thorns piercing Your scalp. Your Holy brow dripping with sweat and Your Holy blood. Holy infant / And carrying Your own cross, You went out to the place of the skull. Now those huge awful nails, tearing through Your holy hands and feet. And in spite of all the pain and agony which You experience, You suffer even more as You see your mum crying at the foot of the cross. So tender and mild / Then in total agony, You gasped, “My God, my God. Why have You forsaken Me?” But as You glance at the crowd and then to the heavens, You ask Your Heavenly Father: “Please forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do.” Sleep… / And there You breathed Your last. Dying a death which I deserved. Jesus, You died for my sins. You were sinless, yet you chose to take on my sin. You loved me that much that You died for me when I was yet a sinner. In heavenly peace… / When will we get it? When will our hearts and souls be touched by this Holy Saviour, Jesus Christ? When will we turn from ourselves and our wicked ways and, in peace, turn to You, Jesus? Sleep in heavenly peace. / Mia culpa, mia culpa. Mia maximum culpa. Please forgive me. Please forgive me. Please wholeheartedly forgive me. I love You, LORD. An appropriate choice by the PCO banner team as “Joy to the World” is the most-published Christmas hym of North America. Interestingly, Isaac Watts wrote the words of “Joy to the World” (based on Psalm 98) as a hymn glorifying Christ’s triumphant return at the end of the age, rather than a Christmas song celebrating His first coming as a babe born in a stable.” Another awesome banner rightly created for this festive season! “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11)
So far, it’s been a great Christmas season here in Oman. We’re looking forward to upcoming events/concerts at the PCO!