"An Educational Story from This Past Christmas"
February 12, 2014
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! Isaiah 5:20-21
First-grader Brynn Williams of Temecula, California, had some homework.
Williams' first-grade teacher had given each member of her class a "share bag" to take home. Everybody was to put into that canvas bag something that represented one of their family Christmas traditions. When the bag was full, the bags were to be brought back for "show-and-tell."
Having received parental permission, Williams took the star from the top of the family Christmas tree and put it in the bag. Then she worked hard on the one-minute presentation that explained her family's tradition of remembering the birth of Jesus at Christmas. When it came her turn, Williams began: "Our Christmas tradition is to put a star on top of our tree. The star is named the 'Star of Bethlehem.' The three kings followed the star to find baby Jesus, the Savior of the world."
That's when Williams' teacher interrupted her. "Stop right there! Go take your seat!"
Those were the teacher's orders.
Williams was the only student not allowed to finish her presentation, which ended with her reciting John 3:16. The rest of her time, and a lot more, was used by the teacher who explained Williams was not allowed to talk about the Bible or share any of its verses.
Williams' school district in Temecula Valley, California, has been asked to modify its policy about teachers expressing disapproval or hostility toward the religious viewpoints of the students. A similar letter ought to go to California's West Covina Unified School District where another first-grader, Isaiah Martinez, was told, "Jesus is not allowed in school."
In all probability those teachers would not want to hear today's text taken from Isaiah 5. They'd be upset the Lord doesn't think they are wise or shrewd.
The truth is this: this country can order Jesus out of its classrooms. If she does, she will create a vacuum ... a vacuum that will be filled by something.
Banish Jesus and you will also banish the respect, the courtesy, the care, the compassion, which is part of most Christians. Banish Jesus from classroom and students' hearts and you will see, well, you will see what we are seeing: an increase in selfishness, bullying, dishonesty and deceit.
All of this is just this devotion's way of saying don't kick Jesus out until you've got somebody better coming in. And, if you'll excuse me for saying so, that just ain't gonna happen.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, Scripture says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9:10a). Forgive our nation for thinking our answers are better than Yours. Open our eyes so we may see Your wisdom and truth. Then, grant that our children may follow Jesus and walk in His light. This we ask in His Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries