Why Last Christmas shows that George Michael is emotionally unstable

  
So this is Christmas…

And, being so, the Christmas songs are everywhere. When else will you find the Pogues being played in Boots or the worst song in the world being put on the radio because it has the word Christmas in the title (I’m looking at you, Paul McCartney. Wonderful Christmastime is an abomination!)?

One song which is omnipresent at this time of year is Last Christmas by Wham! George Michael and some bloke he dragged out of the pub wrote a song which demonstrates the idea of a love betrayed at the festive season.

Or, it shows a disturbed and emotionally stunted mind not learning from its past mistakes. I listened to the lyrics today and it struck me just how much these lyrics show worrying behaviours on behalf of the singer.

Last Christmas

I gave you my heart

How sweet! You loved this person enough to declare your love at Christmas!

But the very next day you gave it away.

I’m sorry? They gave your heart away? How does that work? Have they decreed that you shall love someone else? They have clearly rejected you, but would that not simply involve the heart being returned? Unless, of course, they didn’t have a receipt and were simply regifting it, in which case it is fairly sensible, if horrendously callous.

This year

To save me from tears

I’ll give it to someone special.

Is that a good idea? I mean, you hardly have a great track record in these matters. I assume you also believed the recipient of your heart from last year to be special, otherwise you wouldn’t have given it to them. Can you really be sure this year’s squeeze is truly special, bearing in mind your clear lack of good judgement of character? 

And, how did you get your heart back after last year’s regifting saga? Was it so unlovable that even the second hand recipient wanted rid of it? Did you miraculously grow a new one? We need answers!

Once bitten and twice shy

I keep my distance

But you still catch my eye.

You keep your distance, but only up to a point. You are clearly hugely bitter over last Christmas to accost them. And how come you are in the same place as them this Christmas? That’s horrendously bad planning on your part or crass insensitivity on the part of your friends. Either way, it’s not clever.

Tell me, baby,

Do you recognize me?

Well,

It’s been a year,

It doesn’t surprise me

It’s been a year! Just twelve months! If I bumped into a girl I went out with twenty years ago I’d recognise her. I would be shocked beyond belief if she’d forgotten my face after just a year. Unless this person has one of those conditions where they can’t remember faces, I guess.

I wrapped it up and sent it

With a note saying, “I love you,”

I meant it

Wait! You wrapped it up? Now, I don’t really think you sent your heart, for obvious reasons. Here, though, you show that you have sent an actual physical gift. The suggestion is that you may have sent an actual heart. That’s sick, mate! Sick! I’d have given it away as well, but I wouldn’t have waited until Boxing Day to throw it.

Now I know what a fool I’ve been.

But if you kissed me now

I know you’d fool me again.

Firstly, you’re not learning. This person destroyed you emotionally just a year ago, yet you would take them back with just a kiss! Secondly, you are willing to tell them. 

It’s your funeral.

A crowded room,

Friends with tired eyes.

I’m hiding from you

Sensible. Hide, run, fly away. Quickly!

And your soul of ice.

My god I thought you were someone to rely on.

Me? I guess I was a shoulder to cry on.

Why would someone with a soul of ice need a shoulder to cry on? You’re all confused and need to get away and collect your thoughts.

A face on a lover with a fire in his heart.

A man under cover but you tore me apart, ooh-hoo.

Eh? Now you’re just rambling! How much have you had to drink?

Now I’ve found a real love, you’ll never fool me again.

WHAT?! You have found someone else? Just a few lines back you were telling this person that one kiss and your theirs again, but you’ve already moved on to somebody else. Somebody who you are prepared to drop, at Christmas, for this heartless git who dumped you last year. Take a good hard look at yourself, George, and ask yourself who the true villain of this piece is!

A face on a lover with a fire in his heart (I gave you my heart)

A man under cover but you tore him apart

Maybe next year I’ll give it to someone

I’ll give it to someone special.

Again! ‘Next year’ you’ll give it to someone special? What about the poor sap you’ve conned into spending this one with you? Are they not special? Is this ‘real love’ you have found not worthy of your heart? Do you even know what love is, or are you simply an emotionally impotent, selfish idiot, bitterly ranting about somebody who, a year ago, recognised you for the psychotic mess you are and got out while they still could?

Anyway, I quite like the song.

Merry Christmas!

Advent 12: Revelation 2:1-5 1 John 3:1-3

IMG_0266.JPG

Do you ever get that feeling that you’re just going through the motions? Who doesn’t feel like that sometimes? You’re taking part in an activity or job or even a relationship which you have been passionate about, but right now you just move from day to day doing the same thing over and over out of some sense that it’s the right thing to be doing. Or you simply don’t know anything else anymore.

Things get like that sometimes. It’s natural and doesn’t mean that you need to end the thing you’ve been doing. How many relationships or marriages have ended because the stuck in a rut feeling has been mistaken for not loving someone anymore, rather than an obstacle to be overcome together?

It’s exactly what the Christian life is like as well, as the Church in Ephesus were experiencing when they received the letter containing what we now call Revelation. I’ve heard many prominent preachers and speakers talk about going through a time where they’ve forgotten why they do what they do, of feeling that their prayers are going no further than the ceiling. I experience it sometimes as well, it’s impossible not to.

The fact is that we all have so much going on in our lives that it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important, that love which we felt right at the start. Not that fluffy feeling of new love, but that passion of discovery of something truly amazing and life changing,

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin” (‭1 John‬ ‭3‬:‭1-5‬ NIVUK)

That love for the and of the one who actually died in order to set us free from all of the sins and conventions of the world. When we go back to rediscovering that love, looking for the reason, the spark that is still within us somewhere, we can get back to doing what we do for the right reasons. No longer a cold, mechanical worship and life, but one filled with love and hope.

Advent 7: Exodus 25

IMG_0223.JPG

Sometimes, if you’re a customer of a large multinational company, you feel totally unimportant. It just seems that they are so large that you are just a number, a tiny part of a gigantic profit margin. Of course, this is the case. These companies really have very little loyalty towards individual customers as there are always loads more where you came from.

It’s not like going to a local business where the staff and owners know your name, what you like to buy and genuinely feel that you are an important part of their ongoing success. And it’s not just because they need you, but they actually care about you as a person, about the little details and not just the bottom line.

It’s tempting to see God in the same way as one of those large multinationals; a being so vast, capable of creating the whole universe, that he can’t possibly be interested in us as individuals and the tiny details of our lives.

However, the opposite is true. Just look at the instructions for the Ark of the covenant in this chapter. It is so detailed, right down to the tiniest part. These instructions go on for five chapters, taking in everything from the pattern on the cloth to the clothes worn by the priests.

God is in the detail.

And it’s why he came to Earth himself on that first Christmas. He is God, if he wanted to save us all he could have done it in any one of many ways from his seat in Heaven. However, he wanted to be involved, hands on, intimately engaged with the lives of people. And he still does today. He really cares about each one of us and each detail of our lives. He wants to know us, to be involved in our day to day lives, to help and guide us. He just needs us to let him.

Advent 5: Matthew 4:12-17, Isaiah 9:1-3, Matthew 5:13-16

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”

That’s what the song says. It’s what we’re meant to do. But…

I’m writing this in the lounge of a hotel in Stirling whilst, upstairs, my work Christmas party is in full swing. A few hundred people who I spend most of my waking hours with. Those I know well, I really like. I enjoy their company and often have a laugh with.

Tonight, though, is different. Hundreds of folk dancing and drinking as loud music blares. I can’t hear or see properly and have started to feel suffocated, uncomfortable and panicky. Things started well, but suddenly, well, I’m not even sure that “this little light of mine” is even there anymore.

But I know it is. When Jesus said “you are the light of the world” he was talking to me. I mean, he was talking to all of us, but at this point of time he was talking to me. That light is still there. It’s dimmer than normal and struggling to be seen in the glare of others, but it’s there all the same.

So I’m going back in. And I’m going to let is shine. Just a little, but it’ll still shine.

Advent 4: Mark 9:33-37

image

X Factor, I’m A Celebrity, Strictly Come Dancing… all the big reality TV competitions end during the Christmas season. Who is the best amateur dancer who acts in a soap? Who is the best Z-lister at eating kangaroo testicles sautéed in camel urine? Who is the nation’s favourite wannabe pop star as chosen by a deified panel of moderate talent?

All this is added to the big question of who will win the TV ratings; pain and misery in the East End of London, posh woman falling over, 2000 year old shapeshifter or postwar birth pains?

Christmas has become trying to be the biggest and best in unimportant mediocrity. Our focus is shifted towards that which doesn’t matter in a way which makes it seem like the most important thing ever.

Christmas, though is about the total opposite. It’s about the most important, powerful being making himself normal, everyday thing imaginable. God became our servant as an example to all of us, to show that this constant rush to make ourselves the greatest and most important is not the way to be.

We lose sight of the joy of giving when we concentrate on the task of taking. We lose sight of the joy of others when we concentrate on the cult of self. But, when we look to Jesus, we see everything we were meant to be in all its fullness.

That’s what Christmas is about, what life is about. It’s about the last being first, the least being the greatest, becoming a servant of others because self-adoration is empty. And the baby whose birth we celebrate is the one who still shows us that today.

Advent 3: Luke 2:1-20

image

It seems Jesus has a very particular effect on people. The first time they meet him they just want to go out and tell others about him. Some find it easy, I’ve heard loads of stories of people I know who became evangelists from day one, and some find it hard. Pretty much everyone has that same reaction, though.

That includes the shepherds. We think of them cowering in fear at the angels, running to the stable, presenting the baby with a lamb and looking at him in awe. What they actually did was to run out and tell anyone and everyone about him. They wanted to share, needed to share, the good news.

It’s a natural reaction, but it’s easy to fight amongst the cynical modern times. I need to just give in to it and I know that many others feel the same. Drop the inhibitions and worries and just talk about the best news ever.

I’ll try.

Advent 1 – Luke 2:21-40

image

I still remember what it felt like to be a child at Christmas. Maybe it’s because I have children myself now, albeit ones in their teens, and still see it firsthand.

I remember that sense of impatient anticipation which started off as butterflies, but soon took over your whole body until you felt you were ready to burst. All you wanted was that morning where the presents had magically appeared, the turkey was roasting away in the oven and everything felt like another, more wondrous world for just that day.

I still love Christmas. Not in the same way, but that sense of anticipation and joy is still there. The joy is now in watching the faces of others as they open their presents, in spending time with family in the midst of busy lives. And in the Christmas episode of Doctor Who. But I digress…

Simeon was a very old man, but he still had that sense of anticipation and excitement. For centuries his people had spoken of a saviour, the Messiah. Throughout captivity in Babylon, oppression by despotic kings, distraction by the priests of false gods and now during Roman occupation they waited for that one person who would finally free them. They didn’t know when, but God had promised and he always delivers.

Simeon, however, had inside knowledge. He still didn’t know when, but he knew he would live to see it. Then one day, for no reason other than a feeling that he should go, he found himself at the temple presented with a baby. And he knew.

Suddenly all that waiting, that hope, that unbounded joy burst out of him. This wasn’t a 10 year old opening an X Box, this was infinitely more important and exciting than that. Finally He was here!

This was Christmas for Simeon. Quite literally. He had been shown the Christ Himself. The Messiah. The one who would free everyone, jewellery and gentile alike. But his joy wasnt for himself, as he must have known that he would not live to see Jesus fulfil his role. Instead, Simeon’s joy was for everybody else; his people, the gentiles and all those yet to be born who would also be freed by this child.

And that includes us today. When we anticipate Christmas we are anticipating the same thing as Simeon. But He is already here. There’s no need for waiting until Christmas morning, because he’s been waiting for us to accept him as a gift for over 2000 years.

It’s time to open the present.