Dawood Dawood had not been able to celebrate Christmas properly in his hometown of Mosul since 2003 because of the instability in Iraq.
Dawood said he used to observe only simple, “traditional rituals” to mark the occasion.
The Iraqi Christian said he understood the true meaning of Christmas joy when he came to Jordan over one year ago.
“This is thanks to the help of the people of Jordan who have made it possible to enjoy the holiday season,” Dawood told The Jordan Times at a Christmas celebration at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Naour on Friday, where many Iraqi families gathered to mark the approach of Christmas.
Father Rifat Bader, director of the Catholic Centre for Studies and Media, described Christmas as a “profound spiritual occasion”, and a time to draw a smile on children’s faces and provide their families with some hope for a brighter future.
“We are happy to receive the children from Iraq who were forced to flee to Jordan with their families… this is their second Christmas celebration in Jordan,” Bader told The Jordan Times.
He noted that Jordan is unique because it has opened its doors to refugees regardless of their backgrounds.
“The special thing about today’s event is that it reminds us that refugees left Mosul because of Daesh, because of their religion, and it is very important for Jordan to show that we not only welcome political refugees but also religious refugees,” Bader added.
Around 4,000 Iraqi Christians currently reside in Jordan, according to official figures released in November.
The Iraqis attended a mass to pray for peace in the region and their children had the chance to meet Santa Claus and receive gifts.
Firas Ghazi, whose daughter Mariam was born in Jordan after he came to the Kingdom last year, said the warm hospitality of Jordanians made him feel at home.
“I wish the instability in the region would come to an end and that humanity is respected,” he said.