Away in a manger, no bun or a spread,
The little Lord Sausage, rolled in his sweet bread!
The U.K. bakery chain Greggs has come under heavy fire from Christians for replacing the baby Jesus with a sausage roll on their Christmas 2017 Advent calendar.
According to The Northern Echo, the company releases an Advent calender each year where they invite fellow Britons to enjoy a different "sweet and savoury" treat each day as they countdown to Christmas. "Each door reveals a tear-off token that can be taken into Greggs’ shops and exchanged for items from the Christmas and wider menu, including the Festive Bake, flavoured lattes, sweet mince pie and a sausage roll," reports the outlet.
Some of the images provided in the Advent calendar were just harmless Christmas fun, like the one of Santa with pastry flakes sprinkled on his snowy beard, but it was the image of the three wise men away in a manger as they all bowed in reverence of their newly delivered "sausage king" that set off some Christians.
Simon Richards, CEO of the libertarian pressure group Freedom Association, called Greggs "cowards" for the calendar and demanded people protest.
"Please boycott @GreggsOfficial to protest against its sick anti-Christian Advent Calendar," he tweeted. "What cowards these people are: we all know that they would never dare insult other religions! They should donate every penny of their profits to @salvationarmyuk."
Rev. Mark Edwards of St Matthew's Church in Dinnington and St Cuthbert's Church in Brunswick called the calendar "disrespectful" of Christmas. "It goes beyond just commercialism, it's showing a total disregard and disrespect towards one of the greatest stories ever told, and I think people of all faiths will be offended by this," he said.
A Catholic priest in Ireland became so incensed by the ad as an indictment of how far commercialization of the sacred holiday has become that he called on the faithful to stop saying "Christmas" altogether.
"We've lost Christmas, just like we lost Easter, and should abandon the word completely," he told the Belfast Telegraph. "We need to let it go, it's already been hijacked and we just need to recognize and accept that."
Feeling the heat, Greggs has since apologized for the calendar, saying they meant no offense.
"We’re really sorry to have caused any offence, this was never our intention," said a Greggs spokeswoman.