Christmas – You can’t always get what you want.

Christmas – You can’t always get what you want.

When I was 12, my parents gave me a ‘Matchbox Superfast Track’ for Christmas. I was gutted! I’d grown out of toy cars, I wanted a bicycle!! “You can’t always get what you want” goes the song, (and my mother). Very true. If we get everything that we want or worse demand, we could potentially become very selfish even narcissistic sort of people.


Christmas is a time of giving and receiving and of course the greatest gift of all came from God; the gift of His Son. Yet this gift comes at a cost both to God and us. The cost to God was the giving of himself, an incarnate Lord, upon the cross for our salvation. The cost to us, is to let go of self and our demands and to accept and receive God’s love. The Gospel teaches that salvation comes not from our own efforts, but in the acceptance of Jesus. It’s all about grace and most definitely not about virtue.


Grace in Greek means “to stoop in kindness – as a superior to an inferior”. In a biblical context, it is literally about an undeserved favour. When God looked “with favour” upon Mary, he entered her life powerfully with love and grace. In response, she became his servant and bore Jesus – the Christ. She was no Princess, just an ordinary girl asked to do an extra ordinary thing. It was sheer joy for her to do what God asked of her, but she also had to endure bitter pain and loss.  That is something of the paradox of the incarnation.


The prophet Micah (Ch 5) proclaims the promise of a restored relationship with God, who comes right into the heart of Israel (the people not the place). In doing so God calls for a response, not in burnt offerings or empty sacrifices or haughty words, but with hearts opened to receive Him and ready to act on God’s behalf. To act with justice, mercy and humility, as they walk with God. How might we do that in 2018?


In a year from now I want to see that our churches are growing both numerically and spiritually. I want our children and youth work to be re-established and on a great foundation with leaders grounded and established in the faith. I want our work of outreach into the community to be active and the churches alive, vibrant and joyful. I want our buildings to be well maintained and our finances in great shape, I want to see God doing…  I want, I want I want….


The list of what we want could go on forever, but what does God want?  Yes, it’s right that we consider our part in the church and I am grateful for all that people are doing for the life of the church, but there is also the ‘being’ to consider. If God is to do something here then it starts with the being, not necessarily the doing, as Micah so clearly states and as we sing each Christmas in the poem by Christina Rossetti


What can I give Him,
Poor as I am? —
If I were a Shepherd
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part, —
Yet what I can I give Him, —
Give my heart.


May God Bless you this Christmas and New Year, and may we continue to walk together, humbly with our God in 2018 in an endeavour to do his will and not our own.


Every Blessing

Nigel Chapman

Vicar of Filey