Six months ago, I would have scoffed at the idea that the most wanted toy for the Christmas season was a toy egg.
Okay, it’s not exactly a toy egg. Inside the egg is a mechanical stuffed toy animal, and the owner has to “help” it hatch from its egg. In case you haven’t heard, Hatchimals—as they are called—are one of the best-selling toys across the world this Christmas.
I know exactly what you’re thinking—Hatchiwhat?
This toy animal requires the owner to hatch it in an interactive way—by petting the egg, playing with it, and “comforting” it when it’s upset. And when the time is ready for the wee creature to pop out, you just need to rub the bottom of the egg while the animal pecks its way out. Once hatched, the animal goes through a series of life stages, from baby to toddler to the last stage, a kid.
In New Zealand, the toy is sold out for the Christmas season—to the dismay of some parents. From what I’ve heard, they will have to wait till February when a new shipment comes in.
Parents aren’t the only ones scrambling in search of the perfect Christmas gift for their loved ones. I am among the masses panicking because I may have left my Christmas shopping too late and missed the cut-off dates for international delivery.
Although I’m not running around trying to trace down the last Hatchimal toy available, I’ve been scouring supermarket aisles, websites, and malls for nice presents that are within my budget.
So far, I have successfully sourced boxes of chocolates, biscuits, beautifully scented soaps and lotions for my friends. For those friends living overseas with long, tricky addresses, I have resorted to buying Amazon gift cards for them. I have also managed to pick up a few treats for myself along the way (you see, my birthday was yesterday, just four days before Christmas).
As we rush into this busy season, checking off our shopping lists and making sure we’ve bought the nicest, cutest presents for the people we love, it’s so easy to oversee one very important detail: Christmas is about celebrating Jesus Christ.
What crossed your mind when you thought of Christmas? Was it: “Yay, it’s Jesus’ birthday! I am so glad He came to walk with us”? Well, mine was: “Yay, I can’t wait for the holidays! Will need to hang out with my friends at the beach.” (I live in New Zealand, so it’s summer time here when Christmas rolls around.)
It reminded me of a story I was once told about a couple who threw a birthday party to celebrate their child turning a year old.
Friends who turned up for the birthday were shown to the couple’s bedroom so they could leave their coats and presents on the bed before making their way to the lounge for food and drinks.
The party went on and on, until someone asked where the child as they had not heard her cry in a while. This led the worried parents to search the whole house for their child, only to find their baby—who had somehow found her way to their bed—suffocated under the piles of coats and presents of well-wishers.
It’s a morbid story, I know, but the story has stuck with me because it reminds me of how easily we drown out the real meaning of Christmas when we’re caught up in the world’s idea of the festive season. So if we’ve been moping or complaining about how we didn’t manage to secure the latest product or Hatchimal toy this Christmas, perhaps it’s a good time to remind ourselves why we’re celebrating in the first place. After all, it’s really not worth our time and energy obsessing over the latest toy that will likely last us for just a few months before its batteries go flat, or it breaks down, or it’s pushed out of a market by a newer toy.
We have already been given the ultimate gift more than 2,000 years ago, and that’s in the person of Jesus. Jesus was given to us—at absolutely no expense on our end, because God loves us so very much (John 3:16). And the Scripture tells us this is no ordinary child. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Jesus is the most costly and perfect gift God can ever give. And He’s the only gift we ever need, for He will never disappoint.
So, as we spoil our loved ones with presents and gather round the dining table for Christmas dinners and fellowship, let’s not forget to talk about the ultimate gift we can ever receive, and that is our Lord Jesus Christ—God Himself.