Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Christmas, Desire and Zigazig-a

Homily preached at Eltham College on 24th November 2010 based on St Matthew iv.1-4

Is there anyone here
who doesn’t know
what they want for Christmas?

Surely, by now,
you’ll have written down your hearts’ desires
for 25th December
in letters to Father Christmas
and addressed them to his home
in Lapland.

It’s a shame they won’t reach him really.

Everyone knows he lives at the North Pole.

So what did you ask for?

BioShock or Fallout 3?

The latest from Kings of Leon
or Taylor Swift?

The Nike ACG Wild Edge GTX trainers?

Some members of the sixth form
have asked for the Fisher Price
Bounce and Spin Zebra.

The list of desired Christmas presents seems endless!

So think now.

What do you want for Christmas?

Are you sure?

Is that what you really want?

The trouble is, you might just get it.


In 1996, five young women
asked that very same question.

Yo, I'll tell you what I want,
what I really, really want,So tell me what you want,
what you really, really want,I'll tell you what I want,
what I really, really want,So tell me what you want,
what you really, really want,I wanna, I wanna,
I wanna, I wanna,
I wanna really really really wanna
zigazig ha.

Popular opinion at the time
thought that what they
really, really wanted was a slap.

14 years of scouring
modern languages
from Sanskrit to Xhosa
as well as hours and hours
on Urban
have turned up nothing,
absolutely nothing,
to shed light on what this
Zigazig-a actually is.

However, the Spice Girls
do make a very good point.

Do you really know what
you really, really want in life?
Are you able to express it?


We might want those
Nike Wild Edge Trainers,
but what about when we’ve got them?

We might want to be drinking
ice-cold cola,
eating the finest Krispy Kreme donuts
while sitting in a hot tub with the Saturdays.

But what about when the water gets cold,
the donuts have gone,
and the Saturdays have turned into
the Happy Mondays?

What have you really gained?

Did you really want those
trainers in the first place?

You know they are going to wear out
and be no more use than
the £10 trainers from George at Asda.

You can see that you get your trainers,
but in some way
your want doesn’t go away.

Once you’ve got what you want,
the want is still there.

So what is it that you want?

Can you identify what
you’re really missing in life?


It has to be admitted
that we are terribly fortunate in the West.

In fact we are spoiled rotten.

Anything we could possibly want,
there’s an outlet for it.

Perhaps that’s the problem:
we don’t really want
what we think we want,
and before we’ve found out
what we really want in life,
we’ve been distracted from it
by the comforting glow of a tactical nuke
in COD.

We don’t know what we want
because something bright
and shiny takes our mind off it.

So how do we find out what we really want?

Well, let’s take those trainers for example.

Why do we want them?
Because they’re state of the art.

Why does that matter?
Because they’re the best.

Why won’t the £10 trainers from Asda’s do?
Because they’re cheap.

But they’ll do the job won’t they?
But they’re not as nice (or siiick).
Why does that matter?
All my friends’ trainers are nice…

Before we know it,
we’ve discovered that
we believe that having the right trainers
makes us somehow socially acceptable
- a better person.

It reveals our need
to be accepted and loved,
and that we are willing
to sacrifice being who we really are to get it.

So by allowing trainers to tell us
who to be friends with,
we’ve actually completely missed
what we really want in life
– a group of good friends.

Real friends are worth more than trainers, aren’t they?


Of course,
you now realise that this changes the situation.

If we want good friends,
we need to be a good friend.

If we want to be accepted,
then we have to accept others.

If we want to learn,
then we need to study
and help people to study
in order to let them teach us.

In short, we have to do unto others
as we would want them to do to us.

St Francis reminds us that
we should not seek so much as to be loved
as to love.

We have to love first before we receive love.

Often that’s very hard
and takes a long time to achieve.

However, then we get
what we’ve worked hard for
and it is more satisfying than a pair of trainers
that will only end up smelling worse
than a long-dead fish wearing Hugo Boss.
St Augustine goes further
and suggests that all human want
is at heart the search for God.

He says to God,
“Thou hast formed us for Thyself,
and our hearts are restless
till they find rest in Thee.”

For St Augustine,
as water satisfies our thirst,
and food our hunger,
so does God satisfy any real want
that we have.


It’s true
we have to look very hard at ourselves
to discover what we really want
to have or do in life.

Each of us has something to offer others
and what we have to offer
will come out of trying to understand
our loneliness,
our sadness
and our confusion in life.
Finding out
what we really want in life
will tell us lots about who we are,
and will help us to get what we really want,
if we are prepared to look out
for what other people around us need too.

What do you want for Christmas?

Are you sure?

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