By Michael Gryboski, The Christian Post
A major evangelical organization will soon be posting a Nativity-centered Christmas advertisement for Times Square based off of the upcoming mini-series "The Bible."
The World Evangelical Alliance will begin running ads later this week regarding the miniseries and will continue to do so until March of next year when the series begins.
Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, CEO and Secretary General for the World Evangelical Alliance, told The Christian Post that the ads were meant to redirect people's attention to the real meaning of Christmas.
"Christmas has become so commercialized that we wanted to get out the message that Christ is the center of this celebration for Christians around the world," said Tunnicliffe. "The clip is beautiful. It shows the Nativity. It shares the love and hope of the Christmas message. It puts Christ back in Christmas."
Tunnicliffe told CP that he hopes the clip used for the ads will be "a powerful visual reminder of coming of Christ at Christmas and an alert to the upcoming TV series."
"We asked the producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey for permission and a short clip to run on the billboard. Roma and Mark immediately and gladly provided the rights and clip," said Tunnicliffe.
Produced by husband and wife team Burnett and Downey (known for her role in the TV series "Touched by an Angel"), the 10-hour miniseries will cover stories from both the Old and New Testaments.
Promotion for the 2013 miniseries includes a YouTube channel, where a cover of "Mary Did You Know" by CeeLo Green posted last week has already taken in over 1.6 million views.
The clip-based ad showing the Nativity will be in stark contrast to a billboard also on Times Square purchased by American Atheists. The billboard – which had the phrase "Keep the merry! Dump the myth!" – features a jolly image of Santa Clause above a solemn wooden figure of the crucified Christ.
Regarding the American Atheists billboard, Tunnicliffe told CP that he respects the group's right to post such a message in New York City.
"There is freedom of speech and freedom of religion in the USA. And we support those freedoms," said Tunnicliffe. "The billboard we have in Times Square is not against anyone. It is there simply to help put Christ back in Christmas and bring a message of hope that our world desperately needs."
The Christian Post is a Global Partner of the World Evangelical Alliance.