Churches of different denominations across Merseyside are coming together to support a Christmas poster which re-casts the nativity scene with trendy twenty-somethings, designer fashions and luxury gifts.
In the poster the shepherds are represented by a cycle courier and plasterer. The Wise men are shown as three successful entrepreneurs and their gifts are iconic ‘treasures’ of modern culture: a Swarovski crystal perfume bottle, a Faberge egg and a replica Damian Hirst skull.
All are ‘sharply dressed’. But the traditional nativity arrangement is unchanged, with Jesus as its clear focus. And the message is ‘However you dress it up.... Christmas Starts with Christ’.
The poster was designed by Churchads.net and the image was taken by Max Oppenheim. The poster already has the support of key church leaders, including the Archbishop of York, and partners such as Premier Christian Media and The Jerusalem Trust.
In Merseyside it has the support of Churches Together in the Merseyside Region and Together for the Harvest, who will donate money to buy advertising space and radio time. Individual churches are also being encouraged to buy advertising spaces in bus stops to display the poster, or to share the image with their local communities via flyers, smaller posters or on the web.
Stuart Haynes, Media Manager for the Diocese of Liverpool, who is co-ordinating the Merseyside campaign said, “Over the past few weeks many of us have been reflecting on the reasons for the looting and summer disturbances. We all saw the mix of consumerism and lawlessness as designer shops were targeted and looted of their goods. Perhaps the ‘dream goods’ and designer clothes featured in this Christmas advert will raise questions about what we really do value in our society.
"Are we a society that is obsessed with the latest phone, pair of shoes or crystal gifts designed to impress, or are is there a deeper truth? With just 7% of 18-24 year olds knowing the Christmas story in detail, Christians need to be re-telling the story of his birth in ways which engage creatively and positively. We hope this image will do just that reminding people, in the middle of a season of spending, that Christmas Starts with Christ.”
Any individual or church can donate to the National Christmas Ad Fund by visiting www.christmasstarts.com