Grapevine Dec 2015 – Jan 2016 | Letter by Matt Taylor

Posted by on Nov 26, 2015 in GrapeVine, Rectors Letters | 0 comments

Grapevine Dec 2015 – Jan 2016 | Letter by Matt Taylor

This months  Grapevine Dec 2015 Jan 2016 to download here and the introductory letter from Associate Minister Rev Matt Taylor






Author PCThe Season of Advert

The Season of Advert1 is upon us, in fact it started before Advent [Sorry, this is going to get confusing— I’ll stop it now]. They all launched at the beginning of November and we shall see them, day-in and day-out, until Boxing Day, and I’ve got to say,  what a strange collection they are. Waitrose’s beautifully filmed food with Heston sprinkling something on cake (looks like chocolate: knowing Heston it’s probably pepper); Aldi’s surreal Sound of Music; Lidl’s (better mention them as they have just opened a massive store in the town) Academy School with a specialism in Christmas; Sainsbury’s accident-prone Mog the cat, who destroys a house and nearly Christmas; Coca Cola still sending its sugar-loaded truck around middle England; M&S’s funky, arty, neon hall of mirrors.  Asda takes us from the classics to an X Factor contestant’s new single, and as for John Lewis … what IS that all about?

But by far my personal favourite is the Mulberry advert where ‘Jo’ gives his wife a Mulberry hand bag which attracts the attention of local shepherds and three guests dressed as kings, all of whom worship the bag. The final scene looking very much like a nativity scene. I laughed out loud— though in some ways it says something deeply profound. (See YouTube below).

I think this year more than any other it’s been a real competition to get the prize for most memorable Christmas Ad. They say John Lewis spent £1 million on theirs. It would appear that only a fraction of that was spent on the storyline. But next year will we remember it, or the surreal sound of music, or Mog’s exploding oven? No, maybe not, certainly not the year after. That’s because, I suggest, the adverts resonate with the superficial stuff of Christmas, which however ‘nice’, is ephemeral.

The church can get a bit pompous at this time of year. We often talk about ‘the real meaning of Christmas’, putting Christ back into Christmas or losing the message of Christmas in all the commercialism. There is some truth in that, but still churches all over our country will be full of people who want the Christmas experience— singing the carols, seeing the nativity, thinking about a story which has real staying power.

For those people something draws them. It might well be just the cosy feeling, but it’s the church’s mission not to knock that but to affirm it: to encourage congregations just to think deeper.  Deeper about the young couple, 2,000 years ago, who made their way to a family town following the instructions of the Roman authorities. About the husband who found that it was that night his wife was to give birth. About a usually boring night for shepherds in Bethlehem, broken up by an assembly of angels bringing ‘good news that will cause great joy for all the people’ 2

Christmas isn’t still here because of the ads each year—no matter how creative they are. We go on celebrating, not because of a pair of slippers, a beautifully cooked turkey or a red handbag, but because that baby wasn’t any baby but because, as the angels said,  ‘a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.’

And amongst the food and the glitter, when we are honest, we realise that this world, and we, need saving.

Rev Matt Taylor

1This is not a typo [Ed]
2 Luke 2. 10
3 Luke 2. 11