from Revd Jane Wild

Dear Friends

I have just made a visit to Iceland. The shop, not the country! There, I had a conversation with a member of staff wearing a T-shirt that said their advert had been banned.

Iceland and Greenpeace teamed up for this year’s advert, declaring that palm oil demand threatens the habitat of orang-utans. This is touching on the supermarket’s decision to no longer sell products with the controversial fruit by-product in hopes of reducing the demand.

However, the advert has been barred from countrywide television broadcast due to its potentially politicised message. Clearcast, the body which approves or rejects adverts for broadcast on television and video on demand, said the advert doesn’t comply with rules due to Greenpeace’s involvement.

We live in a pluralistic society where we are given lots of options about how to use our time and resources, what to believe, who to follow and how to live. We are offered options on so many things that choice has become an everyday part of life; we expect it and even demand it. There are some times when society draws the line and says that something is not right and there are good reasons why political bodies should not be involved in advertising for supermarkets.

On the other hand during Advent, we sing about Truth coming down at Christmas. Yet in his time Jesus was reacted against. Those in authority questioned and condemned the truth that brought about the nature of God and how we should live.

Who would have imagined that a transcendent creator of the universe would have personally visited our planet even in splendour and majesty? The Gospels go far beyond this, they reveal God in the weakness, vulnerability and ignorance of a child. A child who would grow up in circumstances which are far from glamorous and would be rejected by his own people. A man who, when faced with persecution and suffering, would stand true to the gift of divine forgiveness and eternal life and offer it to humanity.

These truths have, and do, challenge our world today. If we were to make an advert for Christmas, would it be banned? Maybe some of the words of the New Testament could be our slogans.

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me." Matthew 25:35

"Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven." Luke 6:37.

"Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it." 1 Peter 3:11

In a way, I hope any such attempt would be banned, but only for the reason that this would be some indication that the message of Advent and Christmas was being taken seriously.

I wish you and your loved ones all the grace and truth of God this Christmas and peace in the next year.