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Christmas Countdown #3: The Coming of a Super Hero

Christmas was on its way. I was a determined second grader in Dallastown, Pennsylvania.

The cold winter weather was moving in and I decided that now was the time to put my plan in action, before it got too frigid.

For weeks I had spent every available minute in my bedroom reading a seemingly endless supply of comic books featuring Superman, Green Hornet, Hulk, Iron Man, and of course Batman. Batman was the tops, brother. He was the absolute best to a seven year old kid.

I loved Batman. We all did. Every kid in Dallastown Elementary School loved Batman. And Robin, of course. The Batman TV show was the talk of the school, and playground time was all Caped Crusader stuff.

To my mom’s chagrin, in early November my dad had visited a garage sale and bought us kids two crates – crates, mind you – of comic books ranging from early Iron Man, Spiderman, Silver Surfer, Hulk, and others, and you could see I was a mess. I would sit and read the old DC and Marvel comics and just hope against hope that I could be a superhero. I loved ’em all … well, except for Aqua Man. It seemed like he was always beaming for help from a whale, and besides, who could throw a good punch underwater? I tried and it didn’t work.

We kids would gather into Fierce Legions of Power in the gravel lot near our home with our own custom-made names and powers: FleetFoot, Inferno, Ultra Boy, and – when I found an oversized pair of red plastic goggles – Glasses Man. We had come upon a set of old capes from a defunct high school band and we were set. Every day – and I do mean every day – we were running the lawns of the little town, defying imaginary hoodlums who all wore pork-pie hats and masks. I never could figure out why they would stereotype themselves that way, but that was their business, not mine.

But now winter was setting in and I knew I had to act fast. I had noticed how many comic book heroes had gone solo, and , well, didn’t really have any good friends. They needed a club of some sort. Oh, there were a couple of Leagues, but they were fairly small and somewhat elitist. What about the grade B guys? My seven-year old mind was certain that the world had lesser-known superheroes lurking around, waiting to get organized. They just needed a leader. And I, a knowledgeable second grader, would be the one to band them together…and the International Headquarters would be in Dallastown, Pennsylvania. You may laugh, but I was absolutely serious about all this.

I truly believed that I could call the great heroes of the universe together and organize an ad-hoc Justice League of my own. Think of it! We could protect the world from all of the ills of the 60’s… if we could just get organized. And I, a second grader from Dallastown Elementary, would be the one to bring them together. Why I believed that the titans of the world would gather and obey my instructions, I cannot tell you. I just figured that they, being fair and kind much like they were in the comic books, would allow me to be President-Elect or Headquarters Guy or something. How I was supposed to know where the immediate crimes were? I hadn’t figured that out either – the first thing was to get organized, for crying out loud. So I went to our basement and found a hunk of thick brown corrugated cardboard that was about 3 feet square and set to work on it with Crayola crayons. It said this: ATTENTION SUPER HEROS of any powers. All are welcome. TIME TO ORGANIZE. Meet at Dallastown Park at home plate today at 3 p.m. ALL SUPER HEROS WELCOME. I pulled on my 1960s hooded-with-strings-attached gray snow jacket and went down – so help me, a second grader – to the main street’s Gladfelter’s Furniture to ask them to put this World Class Announcement in their window. However, when I got only three steps into the store, it was too quiet and ornate – I had second thoughts about letting the layman in on my plans. In other words, I chickened out and went outside. I propped it in front of the store on the sidewalk and took off running for dear life. Nobody should know it was me who put the sign there. All things secret. For the next hour I hung back behind the park swing set, braving the cold wind – not wanting to give away my secret identity. That, plus the risk of getting yelled at by the old guy sitting near the monkey bars. 2:45 pm came and I was in a sweat. 2:55. Prepare a speech. Plan to sound impressive when they come. 2:59. They would all fly in, at the last minute. I’m sure of it. 3 p.m. For cryin’ out loud, these guys aren’t punctual. Still, they have floods and fires to take care of… 3:15 p.m. I’ll wait one more minute. 3:30 p.m. Ah, nuts. I walked back to Charles Street and went to my room, half disappointed and yet relieved a bit as well. I wasn’t sure what to do if a whole mob of heroes with assorted powers showed up. Maybe it was just as well… Then during that winter season our little church introduced some great Bible teachers with the presentation of Jesus. They took the extra step in Scripture teaching, though; they showed Christ as more than a shepherd. He was a miracle worker, a healer and a brave warrior in the face of very evil people. I began to love hearing about Jesus. I loved strength and action in a person, and that was the hook that got me to looking to Jesus as savior. He was the God-Man! That’s probably why even today Mark is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Jesus is portrayed as doing, going, moving, active. He stunned the disciples by calming the sea in a superhero way. Their reaction? They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41) When I first started learning about Jesus’ abilities to defy the laws of the “normal” nature around Him, I got intrigued. This One who came to earth to heal and do wonders – why was He doing this? What was the reason? Who was He, anyway? I needed a better description than the soft teddy-bear image I was being given in earlier years. That wonder still pervades the world today, among all nations. There are people all around us who want a better description today, especially now, in this Nativity season, where the story of Jesus is explain throughout the world. A Koine Greek word gives us a very, very good definition.Romans 1:4 says that Jesus was declared to be the Son of God … that word “declared” is horizo. It means “boundary” or “limit” and it’s where we get the English word “horizon”.

How powerful is Jesus? What are His limits? What are His boundaries?

Paul gives us the answer, loud and clear. Paul is saying: “I show you Jesus Christ, and here are His boundaries… He’s God!” Sort of blows away the fences, doesn’t it?

Paul is saying “You’re looking at this baby swaddled up and fitted into a manger within a barn. This child – His destiny is Earth-shaking… literally. Do you want me to tell you the limitations of this man Jesus? That’s like trying to tell you the limits of God, since He is God. There are no limits! He is omniscient, omnipresent, omni-present…”

The world is looking for a hero. A savior. One with no boundaries. This is the greatest time to tell them about Jesus.

What a great Christmas present.

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