A few years ago on America’s Funniest Home Videos, a young boy was shown on Christmas morning. He came running down the stairs all excited to see a large present beside the tree. Once he noticed it had his name on it, he ran over to tear it open to see what was inside. The paper went flying and suddenly he broke into a dance and jumped around the room screaming, “WOW! JUST WHAT I WANTED! I REALLY LOVE IT! WOW!” However, after awhile he went back over to look at it again and said with a puzzled look on his face, “What is it?”
Are you ever that way? The excitement gets to you, but you don’t really understand what it’s all about. I can remember watching an Ohio State football game a year or two ago with Nellie and a bunch of Ohio State fans. Notice I didn’t include Nellie in that list of Ohio State fans, because she was more of a tag along anyway. She doesn’t really get it when it comes to football. Anyway, during the game, Ohio State made a huge play and scored a touchdown that put them into the lead, and everyone in the room erupted into excitement and cheer. Everyone, including Nellie. Once the excitement died down a bit, she leaned over to me and asked, “What just happened?”
Well, on that first Christmas the angels announced the birth of a new child. The Heavens were opened and all the company of the Heavenly host broke into praise. Shepherds went racing to Bethlehem to see what it was all about. Wise men from the East came to present their gifts and to worship this newborn baby. And for over two thousand years we have been jumping up and down saying, “Wow! Just what I wanted! Exactly what I needed!”
But seems that in the very next breath we look again inside the stable and ask, “What is it?” People today are puzzled by God’s gift. They are excited, but they just don’t know why. Perhaps it is because inside each of us is a longing to be close to that baby, a void that can only be filled by a relationship with this child. But as we gaze into the manger scene, do we really understand what it is that God gave us?