Lest We Forget

Every year, Christmas adverts bring me to tears. They are aimed to pull at your heart strings and perhaps your purse. They try to remind you of the magic of Christmas.
This year, one stands head and shoulders above the rest. Sainsbury’s Christmas advert is not only elegant and tastefully done, but full of a depth and meaning that advertising usually lacks.
In case you haven’t seen it, it recalls Christmas 1914. The war seemed to be dragging on a little longer than those in charge had promised, and the grim reality of the war of all wars, the Great War, settles in. However, on Christmas Day, the soldiers on a stretch of the front called a cease fire. They played football and swapped stories, showing each other pictures of home. German hugged English and it was good. Then, they went back to killing each other. The pessimist may exclaim that this simply shows how contrary humans can be, but truly it shows something completely different. It reminds us that in these wars, the actual fighting is simply between men, normal men with the same families and lives. They have no cause to hate each other and yet they do what they are told. But for one perfect moment, 100 years ago, humanity regained its conscience and recognised itself in another.
Sainsbury’s have captured this moment perfectly, from the elegant rendition of Silent Nicht, to the exchanged chocolate, it is an advert of taste and consideration. I appreciate their allegiance with the British Legion in a year when so many have turned their backs on the poppy campaign.
Those who criticise Sainsburys’ use of the war for an advertising campaign ought to think again. I’d much rather see this on my TV than yet another car advert.
So to those soldiers with hearts and good intentions, I raise a glass. To those who died to protect their country, and those that died to save the man fighting by their side, I bow my head. We shall remember them.