ABC News' Christiane Amanpour: Not your ordinary Christmases

The international journalist offers insights into the worlds that filled her childhood and give her a unique perspective on the Middle East

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“I want him to learn so much about it all and I want to increase the body of knowledge that I have in order to be able to tell these stories and these important events.”

Did the trip change Darius? What did he bring back from the adventure?

“I believe the experience gave him a huge amount of knowledge,” she says, “and so, like all curious and inquisitive and active pre-teens, he was really interested. It’s fantastic to see all these places through a child’s eyes. It gave him a sense of ‘Wow, I hear about Moses and I read his story. I did my school project on Martin Luther King and he spoke about the Promised Land.’ So many freedom fighters take their inspiration from Moses. He and I we climbed Mount Sinai all the way up to the top. It was just phenomenal for my son to be able to see where it all happened.”

Do she and Darius and her husband celebrate Christmas?

“Well, you know, Christmas is about family,” she says. “It’s about presents and holidays and carol-singing. It’s about going to church and it’s about doing all that.

“I think for myself, the parts of Christmas that are applicable, I think, so much – in our coverage and so much in my daily life — are the

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the incredible teachings about justice, social justice, the incredible biblical teachings about forgiveness, about having a set of moral values about welcoming strangers and hospitality.”

Such hospitality was extended to her one memorable Christmas when she was in college and sharing a house with several other students, including John F. Kennedy Jr.

“John’s birthday just passed and he would have been 52 years old,” she muses. “I believe he would have been a great and positive force in this country. All of us who loved him and all of us who were his friends and, of course, his family you know, never stop missing him.

“Especially at Christmas, I never stop missing his friendship and his charisma and the tragic loss of an opportunity for him to display his full potentials for America and the world.

“I spent one of my Christmases away from home with John and his family, his mother and his sister – the Christmas of 1989. I was a low-level reporter at CNN. I was based here in New York. It was my last Christmas in the United States before I was sent abroad to cover the unfolding revolutions in Central Europe, do you remember the Iron Curtain coming down?

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