During this time of Advent and leading up to the big day on 25th, life can become quite frantic as we struggle to find time to make our preparations. When I was growing up in London, the big thing for me was looking forward to Christmas morning when, each year I would be presented with a toy, hand-made by my father who was a carpenter. One year a triple decker garage complete with ramps and petrol pumps, another year a large castle with a drawbridge and dungeon. Special times.
It’s interesting how certain toys have gained popularity, usually because of the hype surrounding them. Like the Cabbage Patch Kid launched in 1983 and selling over 100 million. Parents were seen fighting over the dolls which sold out quickly. A little bit like the mayhem on Black Friday as people flock to the shops to get their bargains. I don’t think there will be much flocking this year!
In Canada in 1996, an unsuspecting Walmart clerk almost met his doom when three hundred customers stampeded at the sight of the Elmo he held. Apparently, the clerk suffered a broken rib, a concussion, and a final knockout blow from a white Adidas shoe!
Clearly, the raw energy fuelling the search for the perfect Christmas toy is something to behold. The “it” toys of Christmas will continue to come and go—an Xbox 360 (2005), Zhu Zhu Pet (2009), Frozen dolls (2014), Hatchimals (2016), leaving both joy and havoc in their wake. Seems like we lose our perspective and forget the simplicity of the Christmas story.
I heard a lovely story about a couple who befriended their elderly neighbour when they moved into their new home three years ago. When their daughter, Cadi was born, neighbour Ken Watson became a grandfather figure. Then sadly, in October Ken died.
A few days later his daughter stopped by the Williams home with a large bag. She was dropping off 14 presents carefully wrapped by her father and to be given to baby Cadi, one each Christmas for the following 14 years. He wanted Cadi to have a gift from him each year as a way of saying thank you to the family for their kindness. The family wrote about it on their Twitter feed and got 67,000 hits from people who were touched by the generosity and thoughtfulness of the old man.
The greatest gift ever given was the gift of God in Jesus Christ who came into a fractured and broken world to show people a better way. Indeed, to provide an eternal solution to an age-old problem – our disconnect with a loving God.
I pray that this Christmas time, we may receive God’s amazing gift and find a new connection with God who loves us so much.
Have a wonderful Christmas!
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