Against the backdrop of the usual seasonal wallpaper, this ad from St. Matthews in the City, Auckland sure does pop.
In the ad (which has, obviously, drawn publicity and protests), portrays the virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, gasping at the (truly) unbelievable results of a pregnancy test.
The church’s vicar Glynn Cardy says this about the ad on the St. Matthews site:
“It’s real. Christmas is real. It’s about a real pregnancy, a real mother and a real child. It’s about real anxiety, courage and hope. This billboard portrays Mary, Jesus’ mother, looking at a home pregnancy test kit revealing that she is pregnant. Regardless of any premonition, that discovery would have been shocking. Mary was unmarried, young, and poor. This pregnancy would shape her future. She was certainly not the first woman in this situation or the last. As in the past it is our intention to avoid the sentimental, trite and expected to spark thought and conversation in the community. This year we hope to do so with an image and no words. We invite you to wonder what your caption might be. Although the make-believe of Christmas is enjoyable – with tinsel, Santa, reindeer, and carols – there are also some realities. Many in our society are suffering: some through the lack of money, some through poor health, some through violence, and some through other hardships. The joy of Christmas is muted by anxiety.”
The church has been known to take some liberties with sacred icons; a past ad showed Mary in a state of post-coital disappointment, with the caption, “Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow.”