Broken Pencils, Dynamite & Christmas

OverProject 5

Years ago I caught my son breaking pencils. Little convict had a whole pile of splintered number 2’s hidden in a drawer. I confronted him. “Why are you breaking all my pencils, buddy?” His answer? “To show how powerful I am.” I haven’t forgotten his response. It’s comical. It’s human. It’s an opportunity to think more deeply about “power.” We prove our power by breaking things and blowing stuff up, don’t we? Bombs, fireworks, graffiti. Fun. Easy. Destructive. Everyone loves demolition. Give me a hammer and stand back.  

But if we’re honest, it doesn’t take muscle to destroy. You don’t need bulging biceps to break your marriage, or tear down your kids. You can wreck a life with low wattage. It’s easy. Wanna know what’s hard—impossible, really? Putting it back together again. That’s what I told my son. “If you want to show how powerful you are, fix those broken pencils.” He looked at the broken pencils and shrugged...

Only two things in the Bible are said to have real power. Jesus and the Gospel. But neither of them are a destructive kind of power—not in the sense of their mission.  

Back in seminary, my Greek professor warned our entire class: “You will go out and preach on Paul’s letter to the Romans. You’ll quote the verse, ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.’ With a proud smirk, you’ll point out that the word for ‘power’ in that verse is the Greek term ‘dynamis.’ Then you’ll remind everyone that we get our English word ‘dynamite’ from that same word. But then you’ll make a tragic mistake and tell your people that the Gospel is like dynamite. And that’s when I’m going to come down front and smack you in the shin with my cane!”

What was he talking about? The Gospel is not like dynamite. Dynamite is an explosive. When it detonates, things blow up. No, the gospel is not like dynamite. It doesn’t blow things up. It puts them back together. That’s the entire point of Advent. King Jesus has finally come, but the only thing he came to destroy was the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). Death. Hell. Sin. Judgment. Lies. Hate. Greed. Lust. Christmas is God’s answer to our most profound problem. We’re already broken and need to be restored.  

Jesus came to restore, beginning with his most precious creation. People. He came to set the captives free. To restore sight to the blind. To raise the dead and make the lame walk. Everywhere Jesus went and every miracle He performed was a glimpse into what kind of Kingdom he came to create. His miracles were previews of coming attractions.

So as you celebrate Christmas this year, remember how true power is measured. Not by what can be destroyed. But by who can pick up the broken pieces and bring restoration, healing, and redemption. Jesus came to make all things new. He’s the King who came with healing in his hands. Do you know this King? Have you “prepared him room?” Want to behold more of His greatness this Advent? Check out this resource.

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