17 December 2012

THE thousands of people who pass by International Headquarters (IHQ) in central London every day are being given a striking yet subtle reminder of the gospel message through large-scale illuminated panels, each of which suggests a different version of 'All I want for Christmas'. They were designed by Berni Georges of the IHQ Communications Section.

The backlit posters, measuring a huge three metres by three metres, may appear at first glance to be simple reminders that this is the Christmas season – but those who look again will see a deeper meaning.

What appears to be a Christmas tree is, on closer inspection, made up of guns, with the word 'Peace' running through its branches. The text accompanying the image makes clear where true peace can be found, using the words of Jesus: 'I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give. It isn't like the peace that this world can give' (John 14:27 Contemporary English Version).

A second panel features a large, heart-shaped Christmas bauble, onto which has been painted an image of Mary and the baby Jesus. The text suggests that, for anyone looking for an example of love: 'God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son' (John 3:16).

The final panel contains a bright, knitted Christmas jumper/sweater, but the writing suggests that, rather than clothes, we should be hoping for justice for the oppressed. The text alongside the image is God's words from Amos 5:24: 'I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living' (New Living Translation).

Already, many people have been seen stopping to look at the panels, with some taking photos. It is the wish of the Communications Section that some of these people will be made to think again about Christmas and of the significance of Jesus' birth.

Kevin Sims