Bearing Gifts We Traverse Afar: A Trivial Christmas Wish


The Magi, magicians and astrologers three, the wise mysterious men of their age, followed a star to see what wonder might unfold. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. A child is born. What future shall we behold? What gifts can lift burdens and enable a flourishing life? And when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

Time, it came to pass, and gifts these days have changed somewhat. If we want a child to pursue wisdom and we have three wise people due to arrive, bearing gifts, what presents should we wish for? Gold, they all say, for it has power beyond its true worth. But once it is spent? What about an Xbox or assorted electronic games and whatever the thing is this year… Thank you three wise…

But the three wise philosophers are more irritating than that. They bring gifts that help build the child’s wisdom and character. They bring three arts: grammar, the wondrous knowledge of the world; they bring dialectic, “Children,” they say, “We want you to think, argue, practice, discuss and find humanity.” And they bring rhetoric so that the children might make, talk, persuade and add to the beauty of the world. They bring the knowing , the questioning, and the communicating realised by the three arts; in the past, present and future… They say, “We furnish you, the child alone, so that you may be content, and you, the child surrounded, we enable you to shine, with others, communing and making the future, your futures… We strengthen you in the head, heart and hand so that you might think, feel and do… better… and best. Be true.”

O star of wisdom…

Let all wise teachers bestow these gifts: grammar, dialectic and rhetoric and where all things must meet and pass through, the trivium, allow some gloriously trivial magic to occur.

Happy Christmas.

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