Taking the Child Out of Advent
Two news items flashed across the screen recently. In their differing ways they reveal something of modern Britain and it is not a pretty sight.
The first was an advertisement for, of all things, a sausage roll. The manufacturers of the rolls produced an ‘Advent Calendar’. In a faux-Nativity scene a sausage roll was substituted for the Baby Jesus lying in the manger surrounded by the Three Kings. Rather than a willful hatred of Christmas and the religion that gave the world that season, the advertisement displays a breathtaking ignorance.
One can imagine bright-eyed, and probably young advertising executives throwing ideas around at the start of this particular campaign. Bored no doubt by the whole concept of Christmas, and by the sausage rolls, they come up with an image that looks harmless and fun. It is, however, lacking in the one thing a food manufacturer especially should always have: taste.
Something similar happened recently when a supermarket chain selling cheap alcohol mocked Good Friday. By way of understanding rather than excusing, we have to remember that modern Britain is largely illiterate when it comes to the Christian religion. The British attendance at church on a Sunday is regularly cited in surveys at around 10% of the population. It is hardly surprising therefore that some minds have been made dull by a coarseness that pervades so much of everyday life in modern Britain.
The other news is, perhaps, more worrying still. A second local authority is reported as having decided to institute a ‘buffer zone’ outside an abortion facility. The earlier ‘buffer zone’ was in a London borough and involved an abortion clinic. This latest restriction on prayerful witness is in Portsmouth, a city on England’s south coast, and again involves an abortion clinic, one attached to a state-run hospital. Within the council’s decree, there was included the chilling statement that henceforth the city authorities vowed to “do all in its powers” to stop peaceful vigils outside the local abortion clinic. The motion was passed, with only one councilor voting against it.
During the debate, women talking of the harm they had suffered from abortion made brave submissions in the council chamber. No one listened to them when they were pregnant, they said. Instead they were offered only one alternative: abortion. Now, a local council has chosen not to listen to them again. Once more, it seems to offer the women of their city only one option when they are pregnant and, for whatever reason, are confused or fearful by this. And, that option is abortion.
There is a trend here. It will grow more pronounced, and sooner than most people think. The abortion industry in Britain is big business. Increasingly, that industrial complex has the finances to mount a successful lobby of political representatives. In recent months, they have also marshaled an army of foot soldiers willing to confront anyone who dares to offer an alternative to abortion outside a clinic or elsewhere. This was evidenced at this year’s U.K. March for Life in Birmingham. On that day in May, and for the first time, the march, which comprised mostly families and the elderly, was harassed and halted by a vociferous and noisy counter-protest.
Needless to say, the abortion industry has most of the mainstream media with them, certain sections of which are loud in denouncing those who have a different view on the subject of the unborn and who wish to express that view publicly and peacefully. That same media is strangely silent, however, when it comes to the reality of abortion and the all-too-violent, long-term repercussions for both child and mother.
Should it come as a surprise that both of these seemingly unconnected events occurred just prior to the Advent season?
Both of these events, in differing ways, are attacks upon what is the core message of that season. One, in a moment of crass commercialism, replaces the Creator of all things with a bit of party food. As with all idolatry, the spiritual is replaced by the material, the Infinite by the finite, the truly Divine by the transient, a thing for a Person. But as we all know: Man cannot live on bread alone.
The other event also militates against Advent but, curiously, prophetically even, points to the Christmas Season. For it recalls the Slaughter of the Innocents.
An advertisement has removed the Child for a material lie; a city council has also removed the child with another lie. Sadly, though, in modern Britain, there are too few, it seems, able to see this connection—and more troubling still, whence, ultimately, both these jabs at this imminent Holy Season emanate.