Christmas is a special time of year, a time filled with festivities and cheer. The lights are up, magic fills the air as people rush to get gifts. Children wait in anticipation for Father Christmas and all the gifts they will be receiving. All the wrapped presents under the tree topped with a golden star for all to see. But those gifts don’t at all compare to the beauty of having the family around. As we start this solemn slalom towards a week that ends engorged, with stomachs bloated whilst we gloat and toast a perfect holiday, let us remember that December is about reunion, love, and sharing this small world we inhabit.
I love Christmas in Lebanon, not only because of the festivities but because somehow all the Lebanese from all religions celebrate it each in their own way. Lebanon has a very high rate of people living abroad and most of them find their way back here over the holidays. Families await in anticipation for their loved ones to arrive, the streets get crowded, the traffic jam is horrendous, yet somehow Lebanon becomes alive with love and expectation.
Nowhere is our love for our family and the beauty of our reunification more apparent then at the Beirut International Airport’s arrival lounge. Christmas is that time of the year where the departure lounge gets empty around mid December giving it’s full capacity to the arrival one just below. I love standing there watching people wait for the first signs of their loved ones to appear. It’s a phenomenon I only have witnessed here in Lebanon.
People wait in utter anticipation for the first glimpse of their loved ones to appear. Its never one person waiting but the whole family with the kids, younger and older ones, holding signs, asking every person that comes out of the airport what airplane they were on, so they could know if their loved one are seconds away from their arms. This anticipation for them to arrive to be held and kissed and then greeted with hugs and cheers, are matters that make every second feel like eternity.
Those loved ones fly back to us, straight path to our arms, into our lives again and brighten up our holidays. They’re here again at the airport, running to see what they left behind. Months apart feel like years. Searching high and low and then their face appears as tears swell up in our eyes, we embrace knowing that distance is the only factor of us being apart. We see them and reach out to kiss, we embrace and time stands still. Our hearts are filled with indescribable joy. We dare let go of our arms out of fear of being apart. All the hustle and bustle of the airport doesn’t matter anymore and time stands still, as it’s our loved ones we now hold.
Our hearts still racing around, we calm down with a soft look of love knowing that they are here safe and sound. We know distance and being apart hurts, and this pain we once had has now vanished as joy fills our soul…
Now lets get them home and into our hearts and lives.
To Christmas the most wonderful time of the year. It so happens this year that Christmas is truly magical, on December 23, Muslims celebrated Mawlid el Nabawe (Birth of the Prophet), the first in 400 years to take place around Christmas time, and the Earth will have two rare astronomical events this week, with an asteroid flying by on December 24 and the first Christmas Day full moon since 1977. If that is not magic, then I don’t know what is?
So today before the day ends and before the sun sets. Let us all be filed with joy, with hopes and not regrets. Before the memory shuts down, before the battery’s low, let me say all these words and greet all of you. Let’s have a happy holiday, a season of love and sharing, and a time to forget the sorrow of our daily struggles and our long terms one. A perfect time of thanksgiving for the love, the country, and the family that unites us on this special holiday. So have a very merry Christmas indeed.
We have a tradition at home, every year around Christmas time we watch love actually, the ending makes me cry every year, please watch it and listen to the words of the song: