Saturday, December 17, 2022

The Demerit

For hundreds of year teachers have faced numerous challenges in the realm of education.  Educators must navigate the paths of curriculum, relationships and the treacherous uncertainties of classroom management…namely…discipline.  In my experience of educational exhaustion, countless strategies of discipline have been implemented on my behalf.  I have been lectured, yelled at, sent to the principal’s office, hugged, ridiculed, given detention and others…except “paddling.” Interestingly however, I recall that in my physical education teacher’s office there was a residual paddle with names written on it from its history of a disciplinary instrument.  I can only be left to assume that each name written on that paddle represented a backside of a misbehaving junior high school student who needed to be put back into line at some point in the paddle’s storied past.  Fortunately for me, I lived at a time after the allowance of the use of paddles.  Some schools allow the usage of “demerits” as a disciplinary strategy.

A demerit is a tally mark of wrong doing. If you happen to misbehave in class, you would receive a demerit.  If you turn in your assignment late, you receive a demerit.  If you run in the halls or call Alice Allison a name like Acne Alice, you get a demerit.  They just keep adding up.  My wife once received 10 demerits in her high school for passing a note when the entire class was warned that there was to be “NO TALKING.”  In fairness to her…passing a note was not talking. Even so, shame on her…times 10.

I am thankful that I have not kept track of the acts of shame that I have committed in my life.  If I had a light for every act of shame in my life, I’ll bet I could light up the annual Rockefeller Christmas in midtown Manhattan. 

Jesus is the central figure of Christmas.  It’s not Santa Claus or the Grinch.  It is not Mary or Joseph or the shepherds or even the angels. It is Jesus.  Why?  Because this is the moment when God takes the incredible love that he has for the world and gives to it…Jesus, (John 3:16).  Why is that such an act of love? It is because Jesus brings two of the greatest gifts known to mankind.  The first gift is that he takes away our demerits, (1 John 3:5).  He takes away our sins, our shame…our wrong doings.  Yet, there is a second gift…as if the first isn’t great enough.  He also, gives to us…all of HIS merits.  He takes away our yuck and gives to us all of His goodness and righteousness, (Romans 4:24).

May we come to reflect on the real gifts of Christmas this year!

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