Summary: Using the 2015 Mulberry and John Lewis adverts to reflect on the Christmas message
I wonder - do you use your sky plus to fast forward through all the adverst on TV. If so you may have missed some very crafted commercial takes on the Christmas message.
I wonder for example if you have seen the Mulberry Christmas advert
A young couple are in rural cottage with a blazing fire. Jo takes out an enormous box and passes it to his girlfriend / wife / fiance “I know we said we weren’t doing presents but”
As she opens the box to reveal a bright red Mulberry hand bag - heavenly music starts
“oh my God its the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen”
Suddenly a random shepherd opens the door
“I heard you had a new bag … Lordy Lordy isn’t it a picture”
another shepherd comes in with a sheep “can I touch it”
Three men in party hats - you know, the crowns you get in Christmas crackers come in. “we come bearing gifts” they say, proffering bottles of wine.
“thank you whoever you are?” says the confused Jo. But they go straight past him to gaze adoringly at the red hand bag - various comments about it’s colour, it’s design. Then some adoring silence
Then Jo says “Guys it’s just a bag” - nervous laughter and his girl pats him patronisingly on the head.
because of course the thing that Christmas is all about, the thing the saves the world … is a Mulberry handbag.
Except I am guessing that you don’t believe that or in the middle of the night you wouldn’t have left your glasses and mulled wine to come and gaze at something very different - the manger scene - with the baby Jesus - God born as one of us.
The russian writer Solzhenitsyn has a wonderful phrase “the line between good and evil goes through the human heart”
Perhaps, you may not even have thought about this way, but perhaps that has something to do with why you have left your mince pies and come to Midnight Mass.
Stories of redemption - stories in which people are turned around - are very powerful stories.
Take the new Star Wars story - which begins with a storm trooper, trained from childhood to commit atrocities, who deserts his post, abandons the evil First Order, and joins the good guys. Stories like that draw us in - they give us hope.
Earlier in the Star Wars saga - we have Annakin tempted away by the dark side who becomes Darth Vader, yet his son finally on his death bed wins him back for the light.
if you are not a star wars fan - there are plenty of other stories with the same theme
The lion the witch and the wardrobe - where my namesake Edmund is tempted by the turkish delight of the Snow Queen and betrays his siblings and Mr Tumnus, but then is won back to the side of good through the forgiveness given by the lion Aslan.
Or Spiderman - where Peter Parker where Peter Parker his new powers simply to make money as a pro-wrestler and fails to use his newly acquired super powers to stop a robber in a shop, because he is angry with the shop keeper - but then the robber runs away and in his getaway shoots Peter’s Uncle Ben. Stricken by remorse, and feeling it is his fault his uncle died, Peter realises he can’t use his powers selfishly but has to use them to save others “with great power comes great responsibility”
Or maybe you are a les Mis fan - where Jean Val Jean is turned from a life of selfish crime through the forgiveness and generosity of the bishop - and after that is life is completely turned around
Or perhaps you think of real life cases - like the ruthless business man Bill Gates - who ground his competitors into the ground, and then suddenly quits to give away half his fortune to trying to cure malaria and end poverty.
Stories in which people are turned around - are very powerful stories.Stories like that draw us in - they give us hope. Perhaps - and this may not be true for you - but perhaps because we recognise the battle within our own soul - “the dividing line between good and evil that goes through the human heart”.
The preacher J John has an illustration in which he asks you to imagine that there is video of your whole life, every thing you have done, everything you have said, and everything you have thought - and you have to watch it through. And if you imagine that - watching that video of your whole life, then perhaps like me there will be bits when you squirm and go - “did I really behave that badly?”.”did I really say that?” “did I really do that?”