Our school Christmas card this year was designed by one of our Year 7 students (Millie Short from 7N) and is inscribed with the message: wishing you the gifts of the season: peace, joy and hope.
Now those of you that remember my last Christmas message will remember my confession to having, what some might call, an unhealthy obsession with Christmas TV adverts. Indeed, for the last three years, we’ve had great fun making a spoof of that year’s John Lewis ad’ to show in our final assembly of the term. If we consider those three adverts for a bit, I wonder if, actually, they have more in common with our school’s Christmas card message than meets the eye.
If you cast your minds back to Christmas 2015, John Lewis gave us the ad about the old man on the moon. Now to my mind that ad’ was all about hope: the old man was waiting, hoping for someone to recognise his existence and interact with him on a human level. He was one of the invisible ones, like so many older people for whom Christmas is a time of loneliness and sorrow or homeless people whose cold isolation is such a contrast to the cosy Christmases that we share with family and friends. Now in the advert a little girls spies the old man on the moon and sends him a telescope so that he can ‘join in’ with the festivities down on Earth. She takes the time to think of someone else and through her small but significant gesture the old mans’ hopes are realised: he can see that he’s not alone and that someone out there cares. We can all learn from the actions of that girl.
Now let’s jump to Christmas 2016 when our old friends at John Lewis gave us the trampolining dog! Now if ever an ad’ was about the gift of joy then this was it. As the carol goes Christmas brings: ‘tidings of comfort and joy’… and that dog had it in spades.
So… what about this year’s ad’: Moz the monster under the bed?… what essential gift is this ad’ about? Surely this one is about the gift of peace. The monster sacrifices his own enjoyment so that the little boy can get a good night’s sleep. We all know that peace is something that is in short supply across the world at the moment, in particular, we think of the poor souls suffering in Yemen as a result of the power struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Perhaps, against this backdrop, this year’s John Lewis ad’ is the most relevant and poignant of them all. Let the children sleep in peace… ‘Silent night: Holy night’.
Christmas adverts: are they just about rampant commercialism? Maybe not… maybe, even in the cut-throat world of retail, there really is a hint of the true message of Christmas signalled by the birth of Jesus… with his coming came light, hope, joy and peace. Let’s remember that and let each of us do our best to share those gifts both over Christmas and throughout the New Year.
May God bless you all with Hope, Joy and Peace.