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Advertising Christmas

To consider the messages that recent poster adverts about Jesus seek to convey.

by Tim and Vicky Scott

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To consider the messages that recent poster adverts about Jesus seek to convey.

Preparation and materials

Assembly

  1. We are used to seeing adverts, whether on TV, at the cinema, on billboards or on the internet. They are designed to capture people’s attention and get people talking. Most of them seek to sell you something.
  2. (Show the two images from the Church Ads website and ask the students what the images are conveying and what they think of them.) Clever? Powerful? Provocative? Insightful? The ultrasound image will be visible at bus stops around the country between 6 and 20 December.
  3. At Christmas, Christians celebrate God’s gift to all of us – the birth of Jesus Christ 2010 years ago in Bethlehem, a town in modern-day Israel. In the twenty-first century, the fact that these images are still used, and still controversial for some people, show how much Jesus’ birth has shaped the history of the world. In short, how the world has never been the same again since the first Christmas.
  4. What did the people that produced the ultrasound image seek to do? They said:

    ‘We wanted to convey that Christmas starts with Christ. That this baby was on the way. Then we thought that the scan was a way of conveying that: it is modern currency in announcing a modern birth. We put a halo on it because theologians speak of Jesus being fully human and fully divine.’
    (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/09/church-ad-campaign-jesus-womb)

    ‘Our new Baby Scan Jesus poster uses this convention to place the birth of Christ in an ultra-contemporary context.’
    (http://www.churchads.org.uk/2010/index.html)
  5. It is hard to imagine humbler circumstances than those surrounding the birth of Jesus.

    Take a little time now to think of what a stable is like today – and remember, we have disinfectants and other chemicals to clean up, get rid of the smell and ensure that bugs are killed. Imagine a stable many years ago, with the smell and the cold . . . is this a good place to have a baby?
  6. Why did God become a man, born into a dirty stable in Bethlehem? Christians believe it was to show that he loves ordinary, everyday people in an extraordinary way, and identifies with us in our humanity, showing us all how much God values human beings. There is a glorious mystery about the Christmas story, summed up by the hymn writer Charles Wesley: ‘Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made Man.

Time for reflection

'To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord.’ (Luke 2.11)

Adverts seek to capture our attention and the best adverts have a clear message. Through the historical event of the birth of Jesus, Christians believe God has proclaimed to our world that he loves us. In the midst of your family celebrations this year, you might like to take time to consider the true meaning of Christmas: God becoming human.

Christmas can be a lonely time for some people, especially those who have lost their jobs, or have lost or are simply a long way away from family members. You may feel lonely, but Christians believe you are not alone – God is with you now.

Prayer
Dear God, help me to discover you
and, in so doing, make this a Christmas like none I’ve ever known.
Amen.

Music

One of your school’s favourite carols.

Publication date: December 2010   (Vol.12 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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