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Christmas Toys and Living Water

Every year there seems to be a must-have Christmas present that everyone is trying to buy. I did a little search and came across a list of the top Christmas gifts going all the way back to the 1920s! Along with the list, I have added a little commentary of my own. While still enjoying your newly opened presents, have some fun reminiscing over the fun gifts of Christmases past:

1929 – The Duncan Yo Yo
1936 – Monopoly Board Game
1943 – The Slinky (For fun it’s a wonderful toy — but I could never get mine to walk down the steps like the kid in the TV commercial.)
1952 – Mr. Potato Head
1959 – Barbie Doll (I’m not sure why my GI Joe never made the cut.)
1975 – Pet Rock (The success of this ridiculous marketing campaign was clearly the result of a nationwide hangover caused by whatever was being smoked in the 1960s.)
1977 – Slime (The 60’s hangover continued.)
1978 – Hungry, Hungry Hippos
1980 – Rubik’s Cube (My high school buddy could solve it in under 10 seconds. I could solve one side.)
1983 – Cabbage Patch Kids (Go to YouTube and search “1983: Demand for Cabbage Patch Kids Causes Chaos”. This can’t be blamed on the 1960s. The 1980s must have been smoking something far worse.)
1989 – Game Boy Nintendo (I was a youth pastor during this craze. And yes, our youth group bought one.)
1992 – Barney Stuffed Toy (Our first born came along in 1993, just in time for the Barney craze. Great.)
1995 – Beanie Babies (Now with two little boys, we quickly gathered a herd of these cute critters.)
1996 – Tickle Me Elmo (A great way to brighten your day. Don’t believe me? Youtube search “Tickle Me Elmo X TMX Elmo”. Even the dog in the video loves it.)
1997 – Tamagotchi Eggs (My kids actually took care of these irritating gadgets!)
1998 – Furby
1999 – Pokemon Cards (Like baseball cards, but for Japanese cartoon fighters. Who comes up with this stuff? Whoever it was, they got some of our hard-earned money.)
2000 – Razor Scooters (I still have my son’s Razor hanging in my garage next to my wife’s old pogo stick. I’m keeping them so my future grandkids can experience retro toys.)
2005 – Xbox 360 (Christmas started getting very expensive.)
2007 – Ipad Touch
2010 – Apple Ipad
2011 – Let’s Rock Elmo
2013 – Big Hugs Elmo (Elmo is the only gift to make multiple appearances on the list. Who can resist a little red, furry… wait, what exactly is Elmo?)
2014 – Disney’s “Frozen” Elsa Doll (Thankfully, by this time, my boys were both out of high school.)

I hope you enjoyed the list. Many of these toys awakened fond memories of my childhood and of raising our boys. We sure do enjoy our new toys and gadgets – and especially at Christmastime! Having said that, our infatuation with new toys and gadgets never lasts. Sooner or later the toy wears out or breaks or a better gadget comes along – and then we begin hankering for the new thing. That’s the cycle that keeps the material side of Christmas humming along. No judgment intended in that statement, just recognizing that we humans are always thirsting for something new and better.

Jesus understood that cycle. While talking to the woman at the well in John 4, He said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman at the well was thirsty. Yes, she was at the well for water, but Jesus saw a thirst in her that went much deeper than what water could satisfy. It was a primal thirst. She was thirsty for love and fulfillment. Or maybe she was thirsty for security or prestige. Whatever it was, her thirst had her working on her sixth marriage. She was drinking salt water — and lots of it.

Here’s the problem with drinking salt water: the kidneys can only produce urine that is less salty than salt water. When we consume salt water, our kidneys must process more water to rid the body of excess salt. The end result is death by dehydration, even while consuming large amounts of salt water. Five failed marriages revealed the problem — she was drinking salt water.
Because God specifically created us for a relationship with Him, we have a primal thirst for a deep and profound connection with God. Blaise Pascal, the notable 17th century mathematician, described the primal thirst this way, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.”

Like the woman at the well, we are often guilty of drinking salt water to satisfy this primal thirst. Our efforts always fail — and our parched spirits are constantly seeking something more to fill the void.

Are you thirsty? Are you discovering that the stuff of this world just leaves you more thirsty? Have you figured out yet that the latest gadget or toy or relationship or substance only satisfies your thirst for a moment? My friend, there is a deep, primal thirst inside of you that only a genuine relationship with God can fully satisfy — and satisfy forever. He is offering you living water.

I’m guessing you received some Christmas presents this year that made you happy. Great! Enjoy them. But keep in mind that very soon your interest will wane and you’ll be looking for another gadget or two, or maybe something or someone else, to make you happy. Is it possible that you are trying to satisfy your primal thirst with salt water? Just something to think about. I encourage you to read John 4.

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus, John 10:10

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