#LoveCameDown: Church parody of John Lewis shows 'real meaning of Christmas'

When it comes to church advertising, many struggle to get to grips with online media and opt for flyers or the occasional poster.

But one church in Norwich has been inventive with spreading the good news and have made a parody of John Lewis' Christmas advert aiming to share "the real meaning of Christmas."

Beej Harris attended St Thomas while a student in Norwich and has now set up his own film company.

For the second year in a row, St Thomas's Church in Norwich have made a Christmas advert spinning off John Lewis' £13 million promotion. Beej Harris, a film-maker and member of the congregation who directed the film, said the aim was not to undermine John Lewis but to be "subversive and surprise people."

"While presents are important they aren't why we celebrate Christmas and can't save your life," he told Christian Today.

Last year St Thomas' parody of John Lewis' Monty the penguin was viewed over 52,000 times on YouTube. Harris said it would be "foolish" not to do the same this year.

"We were overwhelmed that a simple video could reach so many with the good news of Jesus whilst provoking conversation and challenging priorities at Christmas."

The film was awarded "best use of digital media" at the Network Norfolk Awards and featured on several news channels.

However despite the success of last year, Harris said the aim was not for the video to go viral but to share "an alternative deeper look at the real meaning of Christmas."

Rev Ian Dyble: 'We want to use social media to get out the best message in the world and that is the gospel.'

"Our dream for the film is to put it in in the midst of all the secular advertising at Christmas and give people a little more to think about than mince pies and reindeer onesies," said Harris.

"Last year our Christmas services were completely full and there was no greater testament to the power of visual online media than that – it can be used for good and can, unobtrusively, introduce people to God."

This year's two-minute film entitled #LoveCameDown stars members of St Thomas' congregation and cost about £13, compared to John Lewis £13 million. 

The vicar of St Thomas' Church, Ian Dyble, said that while the John Lewis advert achieves its role of promoting the store, there is "an awful lot more to Christmas than that."

The church's video "leaves people thinking what is Christmas actually about and that is relationships and primarily about a relationship with the God who came to save them," he added.

Although the success of last year's video contributed to packed Christmas services, Dyble said this wasn't the ultimate aim.

"My dream is that people would not just come to church but would come to know that Jesus gave himself for them and that is the real meaning of Christmas."

You can watch #LoveCameDown on YouTube here