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Advertising agencies have had a good year when it comes to displaying their religious illiteracy. I commented earlier this year on how Tesco thought some alcohol could make Good Friday better and now Greggs have released a Christmas advert which replaces the baby Jesus in a Nativity scene with a decidedly unkosher sausage roll. Yesterday I spotted that the wags of the Ship of Fools Facebook page had realised that ‘Lord Jesus’ backwards makes a close approximation of that food item (‘suseJd roL’) but I don’t think the ad agency intended to purvey a form of visual backmasking to inject their offering with underlying veneration.

That said, I suspect sausage rolls are going to feature in more Christmas sermons than is normally the case. Mocking Christ is a dangerous thing not because of the threat of vengeful thunderbolts but because it could put you right where he wants to, within the reach of his embrace. People are alarming about how disrespectful it is to depict ‘the King of the Jews’ as a pork product, forgetting that this epithet was applied by the Romans to his crucifixion cross as an insult. Of the two thieves crucified alongside him, one joined in the mocking but the other looked to Jesus for a drop of mercy and was washed clean.

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