While NYC has its own atheist holiday billboard brouhaha, a church in New Zealand is offering a billboard of the Virgin Mary holding a pregnancy test. 'Tis the season, everyone!

According to St. Matthew-in-the-City's website:

"It’s real. Christmas is real. It’s about a real pregnancy, a real mother and a real child. It’s about real anxiety, courage and hope.

This billboard portrays Mary, Jesus’ mother, looking at a home pregnancy test kit revealing that she is pregnant. Regardless of any premonition, that discovery would have been shocking. Mary was unmarried, young, and poor. This pregnancy would shape her future. She was certainly not the first woman in this situation or the last.

As in the past it is our intention to avoid the sentimental, trite and expected to spark thought and conversation in the community. This year we hope to do so with an image and no words. We invite you to wonder what your caption might be.

Although the make-believe of Christmas is enjoyable - with tinsel, Santa, reindeer, and carols - there are also some realities. Many in our society are suffering: some through the lack of money, some through poor health, some through violence, and some through other hardships. The joy of Christmas is muted by anxiety.

In this season we encourage one another to be generous to those who suffer, to give to strangers, and to care for all - especially those who have the least. Like the first Santa, St Nicholas did.

We invite all who celebrate the season to hold these different strands of a real Christmas together: anxiety and joy, suffering and compassion, Santa and Jesus.

A spokesperson for the Catholic archdiocese in Auckland was not amused, telling the Daily Telegraph, "Once again, St Matthew's shows us that they have moved away from traditional Christianity, even though their hearts might be in the right place... St Matthew's ignores the gospel account of matters surrounding the pregnancy and birth of Jesus, in which Mary is not a shocked solo mother but a young woman who has given her assent and trust to God."

A few years ago, St. Matthew's brought down the house with a billboard of Joseph and Mary post-coitus, with the words, "Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow."