This has been quite a year. We've had our ups, and our downs, just like all years. Overall, The Spaulding Group had a great year. Our verification practice continues to grow, and our GIPS(R) verification clients now number more than 100. Our PMAR conferences both had record attendance, and our training numbers were on the rise. Our new software certification service has been well received, and we will shortly award certifications to two of our clients. We are grateful for those who have hired us to serve them, as well as our the many professionals we have the pleasure of working with. On a personal note, I am thankful for the team we've assembled.
A dear friend, who I met almost 50 years ago when, as young men, we were members of the Order of DeMolay, and who passed away 6+ years ago, told me how he always liked it when Chanukah and Christmas overlapped. While the holidays have nothing in common other than their proximity, I agreed that having them occur at roughly the same time was especially nice. This year they are separated quite a bit, and so our Jewish brethren have already exchanged their holiday gifts.
Our pastor's letter in this weekend's church bulletin referenced two events which have taken away from the holiday season for many of us: Hurricane Sandy, which smacked our region a few weeks back, and those horrific killings which struck a nearby Connecticut school 10 days ago.
Yesterday was the last Sunday of Advent, and just like the prior Sunday, the four candles in our Advent wreath were changed to black, as a sign of mourning for those who perished in Newtown. The song we began the mass with brought tears to my eyes, and the tears appeared again yesterday, as I reflected upon those candles. Our hearts continue to ache for those who perished and the loved ones they left behind.
Our family will celebrate Christmas tomorrow, though tonight we will go to church with our sons, our daughter-in-law, and our grandsons. We will also exchange gifts this evening, since this year our grandchildren (and their parents) will be "at the other grandparents" for Christmas day.
Despite the difficult times, we will try to focus on the happiness that the holiday brings. I am blessed that my wife of 40 years and I will share it with family.
We hope our Jewish friends and colleagues had an enjoyable Chanukah, and wish our Christian friends and colleagues a happy and blessed Christmas.