Monday 8 October 2012

77 days and counting

Post by Edwina Hine

This past weekend I learnt that the football season was officially over! I made this discovery not by viewing the jubilant Swans victory parade through the streets of Sydney, but rather, by noticing the following items in my local supermarket.

Photos courtesy of Wiki Commons
Yes, as I write this, it is 77 days and counting until Christmas (2012 Christmas Countdown). Once I recovered from the initial shock, I reflected on my recent reading of last year's December issue of Case (edition #29) entitled Selling Christmas.  As I perused the assortment of Christmas fare in my local Woollies I found many of the articles in Selling Christmas quite timely. The lead article of edition #29 was entitled "Brand Christmas" by Dr. Simon Angus. The article highlights that for most people, Christmas means gifts and not surprisingly, retailers have tapped into our materialism to develop a 'Brand Christmas'. He goes on to observe that often Christians think much less about the brand that they once owned, than the commercial entities do. Angus points out that: 

"...the Christmas  message is fundamentally appealing. It is  a message of goodwill, peace, joy, hope  and love....When it comes to marketing, narratives don’t come better than this. One of the best recognised and most robust effects of a person’s mood on the evaluation of a product or service, is that individuals in a positive mood are more likely to evaluate a product positively. It is no surprise that ‘good news’, ‘joy’ and ‘peace’ are on the ‘positive affect’ side of the ledger, ........Put simply, ‘hope’sells....."

The article goes further and reminds the reader that whilst

"...many people argue that Jesus is not God, or that his conception was natural, that the wise men of the East gave gifts to the Christ child is not a major point of contention. Gift giving at Christmas seems to be a non-controversial and highly agreeable form of remembrance of the first Christmas. To the retailer, this is manna from heaven—a culturally powerful ritual, where the norm of gift-giving is well established and unchallenged...."

In light of this observation it is little wonder that retailers are so keen to utilise  'Brand Christmas' (and why they may begin starting the Christmas hype earlier each year.......). The article continues by suggesting some ways Christians can respond to the commercialisation of Christmas, as it points out the reason why 'Brand Christmas' works so well is that we actually do buy into all the 'Brand Christmas' stuff. But it also discusses how we can also use the season to point towards the 'real' reason for the season - Jesus!

Selling Christmas (Case #29) included some other fascinating articles. Dr Diane Speed discussed  'The Magi and the Myths', Anna Blanch explored 'An Aussie Christmas, Poetically Speaking' and Dr John McClean asked can we believe in the incarnation today? in his article entitled 'Veiled in Flesh'.

For blog followers who are yet to be CASE Associates you can subscribe HERE or order a single copy of edition #29 HERE.

As for me, regardless of my initial surprise, and perhaps even annoyance at seeing the beginnings of 'Brand Christmas 2012', I finish this blog post on a positive, as I choose not to dwell on the Christmas periphery that is on display in the shops, but rather the true foundation of this celebration:
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” … And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:9-14 ESV)

Now this is something worth celebrating!

Post by Edwina Hine (New College and CASE)

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