And where was I on the Christmas before that? I was in England, but barely – I flew into Heathrow on the 24th and my father met me at the airport because my mother was hosting half a dozen Brasilian friends of ours who were in town. That was the year I spent Eid al Adha (the biggest Muslim holiday of the year) in Damascus with my adopted Palestinian family there, and then had a day to enjoy the Syrian Christian Christmas spirit and finish out my UN internship before making it back to England to be with family. Those two months in Syria were one of the most challenging, but rich, experiences in my life. Immersed in the Iraqi refugee reality, living with a family still recovering from a heritage of abuse, religious debate and women members of parliament marked my daily life. Christmas was lovely, but pleasantly uneventful in comparison.

At the time, it was too painful, too personal, and to security-sensitive to blog about, so no links today. However, I’m in the process of writing an article that will hopefully be published in some book about the Eid al Adha celebration, so stay tuned!

OK, so my phone didn't take very good nighttime shots back then... but take this as proof that the Syrian Christian community is thriving! This was a big Christmas parade through the streets of Damascus

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