I heard the story once of a great Cherokee wood carver. He took logs and sat them on a stump outside his back door and sat in front of that log sometimes for hours just staring at it. Finally, he would pick up his carving tools and start carving the most beautiful of things out of the wood.
He was known for his intricate details in feathers of eagles, or the look of sadness in the eyes of the faces he carved. A tourist once asked him how he decided what to carve, and the young man said that he looks for the picture that is already in the wood, then just takes the excess wood away, leaving the beautiful finished image. He said people would continually ask him how he came up with the ideas as to what he was going to carve.
People are curious about everything. For hundreds of centuries, people wanted to know what God looked like, too. Many thought He might have the face of a demanding judge or strict disciplinarian. It seems we always put the face on God that we fear the most.
On a Christmas eve, some 2,000 years ago, God took off His mask and showed the world what He looked like. He let us see Him how He really looks. We have all heard what we call “the Christmas Story”, and we all feel very comfortable with Jesus in a manger, don’t we? But we must be very careful, too.