Christmas Time in Oman: Part 2, CHRISTMAS CAROLING
By Kevin Stoda
On the second Wednesday night of Advent 2011, the Salalah Church Compound had a marvelous "Ecumenical Christmas Carol".
For many weeks prior to that last Wednesday evening, the dozen or more church fellowships, who are busy each week worshipping in the Church Compound, were busy preparing for the event. (On other evenings this December, too, the members of the Protestant Church Fellowship have also been busy opening up their homes to many others who have been wishing to undertake impromptu caroling. ) For the ecumenical Christmas event last Wednesday and for the other caroling events at various community member's homes this Advent sason, there is always ethnic Christmas food on hand, too.
WOW! THAT WAS A MULTICULTURAL CHRISTMAS!!
Promptly at 8pm on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at the central worship hall of the Salalah Church Compound in Daharez, the opening carols, messages and reading of the scriptures from Isaiah (7, 9, 11) began. The hall was already overfilled and would be even fuller over the next minutes and hours.
In all, more than three hours of cool desert night air was filled by joyous carols sung by multilingual choirs from each of ten large fellowship groups. Before the evening was up, we had seen or heard music performed in Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam, English, Spanish. The crowd watching on --and occasionally singing along--represented peoples from dozens and dozens of lands from Russia to Argentina--from the Middle East to Canada and on to the Philippines and Australia.
There were Indian tabal and other instruments I had not heard before in a church gathering. There was even Pakistani hip-hop and a wonderful mime-like entertainment by the protestant teen youth group to the theme of the real-meaning of Christmas and Celebration.
The various churches represented officially in the choirs included the Pakistani Church, Protestant Fellowships of Oman, the Jacobite Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church, and the Catholic Churches. I should note that amongst the fellowship I attend--and whom were also on hand this past Wednesday night--there are (1) Arabic, (2) Nepalese, (3) Tagalog, and (4) English language church services each Friday.
Finally, there was biryani and other Middle Eastern and Asian foods and snacks served up outside.
I felt as I enjoyed the beautiful cacophony of sounds that night here in the Omani desert--that this must be the kind of praise and celebration the Lord enjoys everyday. No wonder that the Angels could rejoice in another Middle Eastern desert area-- long before the Magi came to pay their respects to Jesus two millennia ago this Christmas time.