November 28, 2017
Luke 2:10-11 - And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
Advent is still a few days away, but we are having the third of our pre-Advent, Advent devotions.
For today's message, we go across the Atlantic to Great Britain's biggest bakery: Greggs. This year, as it has done for many years previously, Greggs has produced an Advent calendar. For those of you who are unacquainted with the idea of an Advent calendar, I can share they are colorful calendars which use treats and Bible verses to help Christian children count down the days to Christmas.
Greggs' Advent calendar, which costs $32, has various coupons which can be taken to the store and exchanged for some kind of bakery treat. So far there is nothing wrong with the idea. Greggs sells some goodies, and the company points to the Savior as being the reason for the season.
Yes, that's the way the calendar worked in the past, and it's the way it should have worked this year.
It should have, but it didn't. You see, someone in Greggs' advertising department thought it might be a good idea to maximize the product's placement and, at the same time, minimize the presence of the Christ child. And so it came to pass that Greggs put out an advertisement for its Advent calendar which showed three magi, kneeling before a straw-filled manger which had ... no, the manger didn't have the baby Jesus; baby Jesus was nowhere to be found. Baby Jesus was gone and had been replaced by a sausage roll.
Now, normally Great Britain is pretty open-minded about its religion, and nobody gets too upset by much of anything in the spiritual realm, which is why the overwhelming outrage evoked by the Greggs' ad is so amazing.
• Some have said using an unclean meat like pork in the ad was an insult to kosher Jews.
• Some have said all monies from the calendars' sale ought to be donated to the Salvation Army.
• Some have expressed surprise that Greggs had been uncaring and insensitive to Christians when they would never have done the same with any other religion.
Greggs has apologized for their ad; they are not alone. Another British company, the Tesco supermarket chain, is apologizing for its ads, which show Muslim families celebrating Christmas.
With all of this misinformation about Christmas going on, I suppose it is only appropriate that we as individual Christians and congregations redouble our efforts to advertise the true purpose of Christmas. With confidence and commitment, let us continue to share the Savior who is good news of great joy for a sinful world.
Next week is Advent. If your church has special worship, make sure you attend and let the world know you know Christmas is about a Savior from sin and not the selling of sausage rolls.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that You have given me eyes of faith which can see the Savior and not the world's tinsel and trappings. If possible, let me help others see the wonders of Your love that has come to us in Jesus. In His Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Helena Horton on November 15, 2017 for the Telegraph. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: click here.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries