The Christmas holiday season is approaching. For most of us, this is a happy time, with family, friends, and a much-appreciated break from work. After all, most businesses within the AEC community truly enjoy some time off as Christmas approaches and between Christmas and the New Year.
The story isn’t the same for everyone in our community and, alas, the world. There’s sadness, loneliness, hatred and conflict.
Undoubtedly I’ll appreciate some of these qualities as I spend Dec. 25 likely alone in Jerusalem. We shortened a planned family visit to Israel when my wife decided not to risk her hip with the extensive travel. Our son will be visiting with friends that day. So I may combine seclusion with a somewhat chaotic experience in the Holy City. (Jerusalem has importance to the world’s three monotheistic religions, of course, so it will be partly a regular business day there on Christmas and partly a very religious one.)
Some decades ago, I experienced a similar at-a-distance Christmas, as I entered the final months of an 18-month journalistic adventure in Rhodesia turning to Zimbabwe, observing the end of a 12-year civil war and the beginnings of a new era that combined hope with brutality and despair. That story continues more than three decades later.
In Jerusalem, there will be time for reflection and appreciation. Most importantly, there will be consideration of how to make the New Year better and more prosperous for you, your colleagues and families and friends, recollecting the lessons learned as a young adult in Africa: The importance of respect, fairness and creativity and – as we move forward – embracing the future.
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