On an average day in Lebanon, Marion Choucair was filming a TikTok video celebrating Christmas with her family, without her brother Antoine who was studying abroad in France.
Or so the family thought!
While the family was posing for a picture, Antoine jumps from behind to surprise his parents, who hadn’t seen their son in half a year.
“Are you going to take the picture without me?” Antoine says. As soon as his mother realized that it was indeed her son and she wasn’t imagining him among them, she burst into tears, hugging him tightly and saying repeatedly: “My son, my love, my life.”
The emotionally charged reaction from the parents and the beautiful image of a wholesome family being reunited during Christmas quickly went viral, touching thousands of people who witnessed what it looks like to be deprived of a loved one’s presence due to a country’s dire conditions.
Marion Choucair, a Law student at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, told The961 that her brother Antoine, 21, is studying Chemical Engineering in France, and he wasn’t sure if he would be able to visit Lebanon for the holidays.
Like is the case with most Lebanese students abroad, returning home for Christmas is no longer without challenges. Antoine had to take into long consideration the coronavirus lockdown in both countries, and the crises plunging Lebanon into stressful uncertainty.
“Once he bought a ticket, he told us that he wanted to surprise our parents,” Marion Choucair said.
“Initially, we recorded the video to keep it as a memory,” Choucair added. “However, it went viral directly after I posted it, touching so many people worldwide.”
As social media users shared the video around, they noted the deep and powerful emotions it provoked in them.
One social media user wrote: “I don’t know who this beautiful family is, but may God burn the hearts of all that got us here,” pointing out that if it weren’t for the corrupt politicians, this family may have never had to live with their son away from them for the purpose of a better future outside.
Lebanese singer and actress Cyrine Abdel Nour, as well as NBC anchor Maria Shriver both shared the video, commenting that it made them cry.
Hopefully, this Christmas season will witness more Lebanese families reuniting for some priceless comfort of enjoying each other’s presence, even if temporarily.
The Lebanese have had one heck of a tough year and these family blessings we often take for granted are what is most needed these days to keep us going.