The Spirit of Scrooge – and the Christmas TV Adverts

I must confess that as soon as the Christmas adverts begin to be aired on TV, I sense the spirit of Scrooge descend upon me.  It was the John Lewis ad that got me started this year. It begins with the title, “There was once an animal who had never seen Christmas”.

 It is about a bear and a hare who are friends and the hare is sad that his friend has never experienced Christmas - because he is always hibernating.  So the hare buys the bear a thoughtful gift – an alarm clock which wakes him up on Christmas day.  The bear then joins the other animals around a decorated pine tree and you can see the look of joy on his face. It finishes with the caption, “Give someone a Christmas they will never forget”.

 Have you seen it?  Do you think it’s cute? What message are they trying to get across?  The makers have even been interviewed by the media about this advert, including how much it cost to produce.

 So, what is their message?  Well, just like any other retailer, their message is “come and buy your Christmas presents from us”  For all the retailers, their main objective is to make more sales and therefore more profit (see what I mean about the spirit of Scrooge...).  Of course, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that, but I despair at the pressure that the relentless advertising puts on already hard pressed families to ‘buy-into’ the over commercialised Christmas that they portray.

 Actually, this particular retail giant might be onto something! For there are many people who have not yet seen or experienced a ‘real’ Christmas.  They may have experienced a Christmas which included a tree, presents, tinsel, lights, presents, turkey, the Queen’s speech.. oh yes, and more presents!  But they may not have experienced the joy of celebrating the story of God becoming one of us. Immanuel – God with us, God as a baby!

 As we make our way through Advent, looking forward to the birth of our saviour, let’s be like the hare and do something to help others wake up to what Christmas is really about. Let us pray that those who are yet to experience a real Christmas, will discover God’s gift to the world, his very own Son.  When people discover that amazing truth (similar to the bear experiencing Christmas for the first time) - it will truly be for them, “a Christmas they will never forget”.

 Rev Phil Michell

 

 

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