Sunday, December 11, 2005
Saint Nicholas and Christmas in Europe
The picture to the right is the European predecessor of Santa Claus - Saint Nicholas. The tradition goes that Saint Nicholas, a Bishop, wanted to brighten the Christmas experience of children who didn't have much so collected presents that he then delivered to them during the holidays. The tradition caught on and after his death, December 6 was designated Saint Nicholas day. This is the day when many Europeans exchange presents, especially with children. In honor of Saint Nicholas' birthday, we celebrated it at the Chateau with a nice dinner and every one of us received chocolate Saint Nicholas likenesses. It was our last official gathering as the fall '05 MUDEC crew - lots of pictures and lost of ambivalent faces over what is quickly passing into only a memory.
I spent the weekend furiously writing away. Part of my commitment as a Visiting Scholar was to work on Deeper Learning in Leadership, a book under contract with Jossey-Bass. The full text has to be in their hands by May 1, 2006. To my great satisfaction, as of tomorrow I will have five of nine chapters finished with over 150 pages of text. It's amazing what you can get done when there are few night and weekend meetings and when my loved ones are 3,000 miles away. I haven't seen a movie since I left the states and I watch little TV except CNN's British coverage. All of this results in a highly productive reading, thinking, and writing environment and I've fully taken advantage of it.
I will sign off of my blog for a while after Diane and Darbi get here. I doubt that I'll have time or the desire to post pictures and commentary to the blog while we're visiting Koln, Bruges, Paris, Geneve, Florence, Rome, Venice, and Salzburg - whew! Come back for a full step by step retrospective once we get back to Oxford on December 30.
In the meantime, I wish you only the best during the holiday. I hope that you have lots of laughs and loving moments to bring you into the New Year.