With all the decorations, food, and presents that are customary to many Christmas celebration, one might get the idea that Christmas is a happy time of year. But a church in New Zealand wants people to think about the harsh realities that surround Christmas, and to start the conversation, they’ve posted a billboard of the Virgin Mary checking a pregnancy test.
The church says that many people don’t experience a happy Christmas and that it is important that people don’t let themselves get carried away by the Christmas spirit. The St. Matthew-in-the-City Church in Aukland, New Zealand, said:
“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… 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 billboard is definitely getting people to talk, but not necessarily about the meaning of Christmas. Several Catholics in New Zealand have called the billboard offensive and inappropriate. But Church Vicar Glynn Cardy and priest Clay Nelson defended the advertisement, saying:
“Regardless of any premonition, that discovery would have been shocking. Mary was unmarried, young, and poor. This pregnancy would shape her future… Anything that provokes discussion about what the meaning of the Christian faith is, I mean that’s our goal, is to provoke people to think about meaning.”
The Huffington Post reports that the St. Mathew-in-the-City Church is asking its followers to caption the billboard. “HOLY MOTHER of GOD……..oh…that’s right…it’s me…” and “yay, I hope it’s a girl” are two suggestions that the church has received.
What do you think of the Virgin Mary’s pregnancy test billboard? Is the St. Matthew-in-the-City Church stepping over decency line? Does the image encourage you to ponder the meaning of Christmas?