My favorite superhero growing up was Superman. He had
all those amazing powers – strength, speed, X-ray vision, leaping
tall buildings in a single bound, you know. One thing about him
fascinates me to this day.
How on earth does Superman become
I was Clark Kent once. Literally. My eighth grade
speech class did a video like the old Superman
serials you see on TV still today. My friend Tony
got to be Superman (I am still bitter about that
one), while I played the role of Clark. I assume it
was because I wore glasses or looked like a wimp or
something (Again, not bitter). It was no fun to be
Clark. I wanted to wear the S, the symbol of hope
for a world who desperately needed a Superman.
I get the powers. What I do not get is the
willingness to put them aside in order to become an
ordinary reporter for a major metropolitan
newspaper. Kal-El could quite literally own the
world. And he chose to put on the glasses and the
tie and pay bills and take the subway to work.
There are many Christmas scriptures in the Bible,
maybe more than you even realize. Take Philippians
2: "In your relationships with one another, have
the same mindset as Christ Jesus." (Philippians
Philippians 2:5-11 is the story of Superman becoming
Clark Kent. "Who, being in the very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be
used to his own advantage." (Philippians 2:6).
The story of Christmas is a story of the God who let
go of heaven to grab a hold of us.
"Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very
nature of a servant, being made in human likeness."
(Philippians 2:7). If you look closely, you can
almost see Superman going into the phone booth to
cover up the S with a shirt, tie, and glasses. This
descent absolutely intrigues me. Jesus doesn’t just
become like us. He becomes one who serves. He chose
to make himself nothing. The image of the stable is
powerful, isn’t it?
I love the words of Leslie Leyland Fields:
Let the Stable Still Astonish!
by Leslie Leyland Fields
Let the stable still astonish:
Straw-dirt floor, dull eyes,
Dusty flanks of donkeys, oxen;
Crumbling, crooked walls;
No bed to carry that pain,
And then, the child, rag-wrapped laid to cry
In a trough.
Who would have chosen this?
Who would have said:
“Yes, Let the God of Heaven and Earth be born in
Who but the same God
Who stands in the darker, fouler rooms of our hearts
“Yes, let the God of Heaven and Earth be born in
But even this wasn’t the end of the transformation.
"And being found in appearance as a man, he
humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even
death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:8). The
Creator of the universe humbled himself. The One who
spoke everything into existence, the Ruler of all,
became obedient. And not JUST obedient! Jesus chose
to be obedient to the one thing in creation that He
did not create – death itself! And in case you think
that is far enough, Jesus isn’t done. He will die
cursed on a cross. There is no Easter story without
I don’t understand Clark Kent. Superman is the one
with the power. I want to wear the S. And then I read the Christmas
story and discover the Hope of the world wrapped in swaddling
clothes and lying in a manger. And then a crucifixion and more
swaddling clothes, only this time it is not a birth wrap but a
This is what Paul referred to when he talked about taking on the
mindset of Christ, to think like Jesus. Christmas is a reminder of
the powerful love of God, laid low for the sake of a Father who
desperately seeks restoration with His lost children.
But I can’t end our time together without a reminder of my favorite
Superman scene ever. The first movie with Christopher Reeve. Lois
Lane dangling from the rooftop of a building after a helicopter
crash. Clark Kent running across the street and opening his
button-down shirt to reveal the S. How he catches her in the air.
Then he catches the falling helicopter. Cue the coolest John
Williams music ever. Feel free to find the recording and play the
Superman theme when you read this last part.
"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the
name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee
should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every
tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God
the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11).
Jesus came to earth as a baby the first time. There will come a day
when He returns, but this time He will be a rider on a white horse,
named Faithful and True. He will bear a sword in his MOUTH
(Revelation is an awesome Christmas story ever in its own right) and
He will dispense judgment to the nations. The S will be plainly
visible, and the Hope of the world will be called Lord.
How does Superman become Clark Kent? By remembering His purpose and
looking toward the day when everyone will see the S. The Christmas
story reminds me that we have a purpose as well – to think and serve
and love like Jesus, knowing that God will finish what He started –
"Being confident of this: that He who began a good work in you
will bring it to completion in the day of Christ Jesus."
Thank you, Jesus, for putting on the glasses. You’re my favorite