There was no elaborate table set up and no extensive spread of food and drinks.
There was no decoration adorning the walls and the various rooms of the house.
No photos were taken, and nobody bothered to dress up.
But it was worth every moment, because for this Christmas, we were finally reunited- my father having arrived to Beirut just a few hours before our Christmas “dinner” was served.
Only last night, I had received quite an inflammatory message from an acquaintance which warned about celebrating Christmas because I am not Christian and to celebrate this occasion would be going against the teachings of our religion and the practices that are laid out.
It truly bothered me, because even though I do not pray that way, I love Christmas and I love what it stands for.
I love that it brings smiles to people’s faces, that it encourages many to do good, that my country becomes decked out in fairy lights and elaborate decorations.
But most importantly, I love Christmas because it brings people together: families are reunited, friendships are re-established, and you feel that the long separation is halted, if even for just a little while.
I know that there are many people who are in the same situation as mine, having a loved one abroad and waiting for the holidays so they can all come together. I know that there are many children, who over the past few days, waited for their fathers at the airport, very much like my sister and I do to this very day.
And I know how they feel when they see their dad’s face from the crowds and how fast their hearts race as they get closer and closer to that long-awaited embrace.
For as long as I can remember, my father has been coming home for Christmas because this is the time of year where we are free from schoolwork, and now actual work, so we can maximize our time together. We don’t put up a tree and we don’t take part in any of the traditions that make up the festive season, but we do have dinner together, and we exchange little gifts because the thought counts.
And this year is all the more special because Ahmad is with us as my husband- a fully fledged member of our small family. I actually got a few tears in my eyes as I arrived to my parents’ house to greet my father, because this was his first visit after my wedding. It got me thinking of how fast time goes and how we must cherish every moment.
To conclude this post, I would like to wish all my readers a happy holiday season, no matter what they believe in or how they choose to celebrate (or not). In continuing with the theme of this post, I hope you are always surrounded by the ones you love and may distance never bring you apart.