Tuesday, 24 December 2013

And the bells are ringing out...

I've got a feeling
This year's for me and you
So happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

When you first took my hand
On a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me

You were handsome
You were pretty
Queen of New York City
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on the corner
Then danced through the night

When the Pogues belt out this uplifting Irishy number you can't help but go with it. The fairytale of New York tells the story of a couple at Christmas and looks at how in love they seem. They look hopefully in the future knowing that now they are together all their dreams will come true. He's handsome, she's pretty, they kiss and all is magical. But we all know what's coming.

You're a bum
You're a punk
You're an old slut on junk
Living there almost dead
On a drip in that bed

You scum bag
You maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God
It's our last

How did it go so wrong? What happened? In the time it took them to sing 'and the boys of the NYPD choir...' it's gone from them dancing through the night to abusing each other.

I did a quick poll in my office and discovered that the only two choices for favourite Christmas songs were 'Last Christmas' and this one. Both of which talk of dreaming of something magical only for it to disappoint. Now maybe I'm surrounded by cynics but the truth is we like these songs because we know that they speak some truth. In our world good things go bad. That's what happens. We get fed up of songs that are simply just 'isn't everything great' because they make us feel even more crappy about all the hopes and dreams which we have had which have disappointed.

The question is why do good things go bad? Why can't good things just stay good? Why can't they get better? Why for thousands of years of human history have good things continued to go bad? The Bible's answer is that our world has rejected the God who made it and as such we have messed ourselves up. The planet suffers from decay and death and as in this song so do our relationships. We know they should be good but they so often go bad. So we live in this weird world. The world of the fairytale of New York. A world of incredible joys, really good things to be enjoyed but also incredible sorrows and bad things we wish would go away.

However good your Christmas is it cannot alter this fact.

But at Christmas we remember the one great act that promises to alter this. Christmas is the account of a God who lives in a world with no badness, no decay and no suffering, coming to this world and experiencing all of the joys and sorrows which we battle with. We see him ultimately taking those sorrows on himself as through his life he is rejected and ultimately tortured and killed all so that in exchange he can offer us a future in a world where good things stay good, where good things get better and where the second half of fairytale of New York is not a reality we all have to face up to.