Monday, December 17, 2007

Who's Coming to Town?

“It’s like the song, ‘You better not pout, you better not cry, Santa Claus is coming to town.’”

The kid is what we lovingly call “a mess.” Homework at his level is fairly rote: Spelling, Math, History Litany (a chronological list of events with dates and scripture references), and Reading. Each day he’ll write it down in his student planner. The Math and Spelling pages go into his Homework folder, the one with the green sheets on which the litany is printed so he can copy it out. Each day he’ll leave school with his student planner stuffed inside his desk, or left on top of it. The next morning he’ll have an excuse for why his homework isn’t completed—usually in the form of someone else to blame, or “I forgot.” To be fair, this is a problem he is lately overcoming with a mighty effort. He has done himself proud at completing his homework for the past two weeks.

“I forgot” is his favorite excuse. Not paying attention is his favorite pastime. He’s had to be moved away from any window in the classroom. The temptation to gaze outside is too great. His desk was once turned sideways to the room. He spent so much time with his head on his hand lost in dreamland it was the only hope of getting him to look toward the front of the room and the board where the lesson is going on. During Latin Pastor will gently bring him back to the game with a song, “One of these boys is not like the others; one of these boys doesn’t belong. One of these boys isn’t on the same page; one of these boys isn’t playing along.”

Yet here we were, engaged in a conversation on the end times. The chapel reading that week was Luke 21:25-36. The changing seasons alert us to when summer is near. In the same way, distresses upon the earth—among nations, between people, and in the weather—signal changes of another sort. Some will become faint with fear. Others will expend their lives foolishly. But Jesus says to do none of these things. Instead He says to look up, “For your redemption is near.” Jesus reminds us to put our hope in that which is real: Himself.

With the insight and sanctified memory of an eight-year-old, my mess of a student said, “It’s like the song, ‘You better not pout, you better not cry, Santa Claus is coming to town.’ Jesus is coming with His Gifts of Baptism and His Body and Blood. So we don’t have anything to worry about when the world is falling apart.” And this one knows a good deal about worlds falling apart.

Little things this one forgets, like homework. Big things he remembers, like chapel sermons from his pastor. Pastor uses the “Santa Claus is coming to town” illustration every year at this time to bring home the point of difference between what Christ gives and what the world gives at Christmas.

What is Math and History compared to what the Holy Spirit teaches this one at school? This child is a precious treasure, wrapped in Christ and fed by His Word.


The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...


He sounds a lot like me.

tgeek said...

I think you just described me when I was that age. I never did get used to the idea of doing homework, sadly that even applied when I went to college.

Sometimes it's the ones that no one really thinks about academically that really surprise you because they grasp things that no one really expects them to grasp

Dcs. Emily Carder said...

You're right. However in this case we've recognized his superior intelligence all along. This kid is capable of great things academically. In First Grade he was able to read well beyond his grade level. His comprehension of History would amaze you. Yesterday he wrote a 3-point expository paragraph. This kid can really write! I let the students use computers to do their writing as it seems to free their minds. The corrections are so much easier. He has trouble with the physical act of writing. Writing on computer makes the process more creative and less laborious. Anyway, he tried to recapture one of Pastor's sermons in his paragraph. This student all along has steeped deeply in God's Word while he sloughs off other matters--except History. He recognizes History as important because that's evidence of God working His plan of salvation in Christ through created means. Also, it gets gritty and bloody. He's like an absent-minded monk.

Paul T. McCain said...

Deaconess Carder, I need to send you a message, but do not have a working e-mail address for you. Would you please send me an e-mail and let me know where I can send you a message?

Paul McCain