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Saturday Thunks

A Mystical Christmas Message to Tweeps Everywhere #SaturdayThunk

It’s time for a little bit of peace and joy with some goodwill to all mankind.  The Season of Christmas begins on the 25th December and lasts until the 6th January, the Epiphany, the day on which the three kings visited the Christ child or did they?

Photo Credit: Gian Luigi Perrella via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Gian Luigi Perrella via Flickr cc


Nowhere in the bible do we find any reference to three kings; the story was created through tradition and built up around the three symbolic gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, one supposedly carried by each of Caspar, Balthasar and Melchior.  This kingly scene has been wonderfully portrayed in Nativity plays all over the World, these last few weeks, including the two I was delighted to attend at Christ the King and St. Cuthbert’s.

The Magi were “wise ones” part of an educated influential class; the philosophers learned in the mystical wisdom of the East.  In contrast our western Greek based philosophical perspective is rooted in reason and evidence.  This more logical approach can be found in blog posts and tweets, mine included, all over the blogosphere and twitter.  Our more Socratic approach gives rise to question, debate, argument and counter argument which on occasion can step too far and becomes a bit aggressive, futile and petty to no-one’s credit.  The more mystical eastern and logical western philosophical traditions both have their part to play in our understanding of teaching & learning and in helping us come to the realisation that we can’t always explain everything.  The chemistry of relationships with their impact on attainment isn’t an exact Science; revelation will happen in every generation and deepen our understanding of education, as we strive to do our best for the children and young people in our classes and schools.  Maybe our epiphany for the New Year should be to look at education from a 360 degree perspective where East can meet West; explain what we can but leave space for that which is yet to be revealed.

Planning in the Kingdom is a reflection by the Blessed Oscar Romero which has some perfect lines and sentiments for people at the end of a long hard term’s work.  It’s time to park and give thanks for all we have done over the past four months to spend some time with our loved ones.

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view … 

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted; knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realising that.

This enables us to do something and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way …

… (the rest of this prayer and a few other reflections can be found in Letters to Staff)

Whether your Christmas is a celebration of Emmanuel or a time to be with loved ones – in faith or relationship or community – I wish you one filled with peace and joy.  Please remember to light a candle for those in isolation or despair; your candle lighting can be metaphorical or literal.

#SaturdayThunk is based on something I’ve been thinking about, discussing, working on or has been topical that week.  The thunk is designed to be bite sized and will deliberately be kept short.  It will take one small issue or an aspect of something much bigger.  The intention is for it to be read in two minutes as you’re relaxing or busy running around on you day off.



5 thoughts on “A Mystical Christmas Message to Tweeps Everywhere #SaturdayThunk

  1. I think in this point in time to talk of the ‘West’s’ science and reason and the ‘East’s mysticism’ is to reinforce fictional accounts of our human past which do not serve us. The cradle of civilisation stretched from the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East. The Greeks learnt from the Egyptians, Aristotle’s annoyance that the Egyptian priest would not teach him everything they knew is well documented. The Arabs advanced science and mathematics in the dark ages. Ideas from the West and East intermingled with a freedom that has been deliberately downplayed over the last three centuries but doesn’t change the reality of them. Let us not forget that Newton, one of the greatest British scientists of all, wrote books on alchemy and biblical chronology, which he actually thought were more important than Principia and Optics.

    I would like to think we can produce historically accurate accounts of the past rather than resorting to stereotypical, prejudiced and false accounts of the past produced for wholly racist/xenophobic reasons by less well-meaning individuals than the ones who have advanced humanity as a whole.

    Merry Christmas.

    Posted by teachwell | December 20, 2015, 2:08 pm
    • This was written from the perspective of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches perspectives and beliefs on issues like transubstantiation rather than a historical perspective which is how you read it. Your comments did take me back a couple of decades when I was making similar points to students in Blackburn where I was teaching; Salman Rushdie’s Satanic verses produced a high level of debate in the school I taught in at the time (Catholic with about 50% of students who were Muslim)

      Posted by LeadingLearner | December 30, 2015, 9:16 am
  2. Sending you best Christmas wishes too, Stephen.

    Posted by jillberry102 | December 23, 2015, 11:03 am

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