Christmas is one of my favourite times of year. I love the festivities, the lights and the spirit of the occasion. I love the chance to get together with family, to celebrate and to appreciate one another with gifts and well wishes. Most of all, Christmas allows me sometime to reflect on how fortunate I am and to be thankful. This Christmas is really special because besides my grandson Ayaan, it will be the first Christmas with my new granddaughter, Almeera.
Christmas is also an opportunity to think about those who are less fortunate than us. We are very lucky to live in a country that is safe and secure but so many people around the world will not have that luxury this year.
This Christmas, my thoughts cannot help but reflect on the plight of so many Syrian refugees who are facing the bitter cold and snow without adequate shelter. I cannot help but think about the young child who is shivering in the arms of her mother in a tent in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Syria. The mother is sick with worry that her child, who has known nothing but suffering since she came into this world, may not make it through the night.
The Maronite Archbishop of Damascus, Samir Nassar, compared the Syrian refugee situation to the Nativity story. Not far from Syria, during the coldest time of the year Jesus’s mother was forced to give birth in a manger, “an open stable without a door, cold and destitute.” But even a manger may provide more shelter and security than the refugee camps that thousands of Syrians find themselves in.
This Christmas I am sending my thoughts and warmth to the thousands of Syrian refugees in camps. I pray that they will soon be able to return to a home that is safe, secure, warm and filled with love.
Once again I wish you and your family a joyous Christmas season.