Monthly Archives: December 2009

Standing Watch over the Qurum Heights Road

  If you’re not that observant, you might not spot these creatures peering over the cliffs of Qurum Heights Road between Qurum and Ruwi.  I’m not sure if it was the government who placed them up there or what but I think little things like that add a special touch to the look and feel of Muscat.  This is supposed to be an oryx, a special animal and symbol of the Sultanate of Oman.  Unfortunately, some PUNKS (and they have their fair share here) must have thought it would be good fun to rip the horns off…  This is what was left of the horns I found in the bushes nearby.  I wonder who would be responsible for fixing these majestic guardians of the Qurum Heights Road?!  Anybody know?

“Christmas Leftovers”

Readings & Reflections for Christmas Eve

  “She will bear a son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

There is a special blessing in the Christmas message that is frequently missed by many.  The birth of Jesus is not simply an interesting fact of history, wholly unrelated to present-day life.  Rather it has direct bearing on your life and mine.  Here’s why.  Something extraordinary happened before Jesus was born.  First, the angel Gabriel came from heaven and announced to Mary that she would bear a child and that the child would be “the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).  Then, sometime later, an angel came to Joseph and told him that Mary’s baby had been conceived by the Holy Spirit and that Joseph must “call his name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21)  Have you ever thought that it was for you that the Savior was born? Did you realize that when God sent His Son into the world, He sent Him to become your Savior?  Listen to the words of the angel who first proclaimed the birth of Jesus: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).  (A nativity set in Lulu’s supermarket in Oman on Christmas Eve! I don’t think you would even  find a nativity set in a supermarket in Canada with all the political correctness going on there!)

Jesus did not come to be the inspiration for sacred art.  Nor to be the theme of Christmas songs.  Nor to be a great moral teacher.  No, Jesus came to be the Savior – He was born for me, He was born for you.  How did Jesus become our Savior?  Bound inseparably with Jesus’ birth is the fact of Jesus’ death.  He came to save, and to save He had to die – to die in our place as sinners, to pay the full penalty for our sin, to bear the divine wrath of God that each of us deserves.  Just as Jesus was born personally for you, so also Jesus died personally for you.  What an amazing, personal message of God’s love and grace – a message that likewise calls for our personal response.  The Savior who was born is God’s gift to you – a gift that can only be received by faith, by believing that Jesus was actually born to be your Savior and that He died for your sins.  And because He rose again, He conquered sin and death, and He offers you, and to all who will receive it, the gift of life and joy – here and now, and for all eternity, in the presence of Jesus forever.  Won’t you receive the gift of God this Christmas?  (Adapted from “Christmas Blessing to You” by Dr. Willard M. Aldrich)  The delicious dinner my wife and sister-in-law prepared for Christmas Eve.  I thought about how appropriate it was for them to prepare lamb as Christ was the Passover Lamb the Old Testament pointed towards.  Hard to explain so here‘s a link to explain what I mean. (and another

Hope you’re all having a blessed Christmas season!  :-)

Setting Aside the Holiday “Hustle and Bustle”…

to focus on the true meaning of Christmas – the birth of the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ.  The Williams family in the Good Shepherd Chapel of the PCO lighting the 4th advent candle (once the AC and fan were turned off… :-) ).   Sumith & Family lighting the 4th candle of Advent in the Ruwi church chapel last Sunday.  The three wise men guys at the nativity play where the children & youth of Ruwi church put on a fabulous performance.  Vanlal played the role of Joseph during the play.  The whole gang  2 weeks ago the PCO put on a special service where 17 different congregations under the PCO sang one Christmas song each.  Different passages related to the birth of Christ were read in various languages between the songs.  C.S.I. Oman (not Crime Scene Investigation) –  I remember seeing a bumber sticket that read, “C.S.I. – Christ Saves Individuals” but C.S.I. in this case stands for “Church of South India”.  The Telegu Pentecostal Fellowship perfomed an interesting song that involved dance and drama.  This scripture from Luke chapter 1 was read in Indonesian and French!

The Tropicana Buffet at Crowne Plaza, Muscat

  It’s pretty cool how the Crowne Plaza is shaped like a boat, but you have to see it from the right angle to notice that.  The beaches around the Crowne Plaza in Qurum are some of the most beautiful in Muscat!  The brunch buffet at Tropicana is only 13 rials per person (+17% tax).  Not bad for a great meal at a 5-star hotel!  Nice pool.  Out of curiosity, I asked how much it costs for non-guests to use the pool for the day.  10 rials! That’s steep! (Only 2 rials at the Al Falaj and normally 5 rials at other popular hotels)  There were certainly no complaints about the food! Awesome buffet!  It’s always nice to have lunch with the wife and sister-in-law!  Artwork found in the Crowne Plaza main lounge  Che and Marites with the pool and Qurum beach in the background  I’m not into bars (anymore, thank God!) but this is definitely a great place to enjoy a beer or glass of wine in the late evenings!  This section of the Crowne Plaza is known as “The Edge”.  It is a lovely, romantic spot in the evenings.  Seating is limited though so reservations are recommended!  It was in this spot that my honey and I had our first few dates some 2 years ago.  Ahh, the memories!  :-)