Connecting with Culture
It’s been said that culture is ‘what we make of the world’, but what does that look like as Christians? How can we begin conversations about what’s goin...
I’m a penny pincher. So, when I’m listening to Spotify, I have to endure ads every 30 minutes. Most of the time it’s just an annoyance, but last week there was one that really grabbed my attention.
Cue cheesy Christmas music and product placement galore…
‘Anyone can be Santa. Though his boots are not my size, with a twinkle in my eyes, I could be Santa Claus.’
Within a few moments, I’d googled the full version of the Coca-Cola Christmas ad. It begins with a world full of Santas: they’re washing their red suits in the launderette, skateboarding down streets, and lifting weights in the gym. It’s a world full of kindness, too. They’re all looking out for each other – whether that’s giving another Santa the last bottle of Coca Cola or hailing a cab for a Santa laden with presents.
It would be easy to respond like Scrooge – to point out the ways in which the ad doesn’t reflect our experience of the festive season. There’s a perfect sprinkling of snow and family life is presented as idyllic, without a hint of conflict. And that’s the point: Christmas ads paint a picture of what we’d love the world to be.
But it’s the second half which really struck me. The story shifts to scenes of everyday life – to real people acting with generosity and goodwill, from a woman holding the door for a man on the train to a guy giving a carrot to children building a snowman.
Coca-Cola tells us it’s because people are embracing their ‘inner Santas’. But actually, they’re reflecting the joy-bringing and lifegiving character of Jesus. And, as Christians, we’re called to join God’s transformative work to bring his ‘love, joy, [and] peace’ to the people and places around us (Galatians 5:22–23).
At Christmas, we celebrate God coming to dwell with us, bringing salvation to a broken world. But the joy of Christmas is also the hope of what’s to come — God restoring all things. With Jesus, we can experience and share glimmers of that joy now. And our society is crying out for these moments.
So, how will you spread the joy of Emmanuel, God with us, in the coming weeks? You could buy the person behind you in Starbucks a festive drink, bake mince pies for your postie, or babysit for a single parent so they can go to their work Christmas party. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…
Marketing & Communications Executive, LICC