Giggling baby Jesus goes viral in Christmas Starts with Christ campaign
In carols still sung by millions each Christmas, Christians affirm that when baby Jesus is away in his manger, "no crying he makes."
But neither carols nor the Bible make mention of giggling.
The Christmas Starts with Christ advertisement, launched today, quickly went viral on YouTube and Twitter with its giggling baby Jesus.
From His traditional position of powerlessness and vulnerability, the advertisement challenges the penguin, turkey, snowman and chocolate giants of contemporary secular Christmas advertising culture. And it is all done for just £10,000 to make, a fraction of the more commercial campaigns.
The video shows a modern couple sitting in their living room watching their newly-born baby in a cot in what is their first Christmas as a family. The fire is lit, the tree has presents under it and in the background plays the tune of "The Power of Love". Slowly the scene transforms, in front of the viewer's eyes, to the very first Christmas in a stable, and the couple into Mary and Joseph.
Francis Goodwin, who heads up the Christmas Starts with Christ campaign, said: "The supermarket viral ads, which were released last month, offered a 'feel good' take on Christmas designed to influence consumers into spending money with them. But they all avoided any reference to the religious meaning of the season. We thought it was time to produce the Christmas ad which the supermarkets are unable to make - one which shows where the feel good factor comes from. We are asking people to watch it, judge for themselves and share it with friends."
Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, said: "There have been a variety of reactions to the supermarket Christmas ads this year. However, they all have one thing in common. Each ad is trying to claim they have the 'magic' of Christmas and that if you shop with them then you will experience it. But it is not celebrities singing about turkeys, nostalgic chocolate bars or happy penguins that lie at the heart of Christmas. What the supermarkets are unable to say is where the real 'magic' lies and where it comes from. The Christmas Starts with Christ ad takes the viewer to the moment where Christmas began. It is magical. Go and see it for yourself and if you like it - share it with friends."
On Twitter, TV's Gogglebox vicar Kate Bottley described it as: "The best Christmas ad you'll see."
The satirical Christian website Ship of Fools said: "Beautiful short video goes from modern cosy Christmas to the poor stable."
Inspire magazine tweeted: "See the ad that takes on the big stores and highlights the heart of Christmas."
The Methodist Church said it offered "that real Christmas feeling" and the Evangelical Alliance described it as the ad that "takes on the supermarkets".
Lichfield Diocese said: "Christmas starts with the power of love. So simple, so powerful."
In a comment on the video on YouTube, Steve Goddard said: "Away in a Manger clearly states 'no crying he makes' so, on that historical basis, he can't have giggled either. The stereotypical nativity play Jesus - plastic, robotic, unthreatening, only seemingly human - has done us proud for many a long year. The giggle makes him real, alive. It's as if God is with us in our joy and pain. Shockingly disrespectful."