Have you heard about how Starbucks recently became the Grinch and stole Christmas? I hadn’t paid much attention to those now-famous red cups until my social media feeds exploded with opinions on the topic. I have nothing more profound to add to the conversation, but I still feel a certain kind of way about it.
I won’t argue that coffee is important. I’m currently inhaling my third cup of the day, and I’m sure it won’t be my last. I know that consuming good coffee can be a religious experience. I get it. When you take a sip of the steaming latte you’ve been craving, you may think you have, in fact, found Jesus. But, when you go through the line at Starbucks, are you really expecting to meet God at the counter?
My belief is simple – if your personal connection with Christmas is found in an overpriced (sorry, not sorry) cup of coffee, you are missing the point of the holiday in the first place.
Has Starbucks ever claimed to promote Christmas cups? That is, cups that represent the Christian faith? I don’t remember seeing the swaddled baby Jesus on them last year. Likewise, I don’t recall any springtime cups with illustrations of the crucifixion.
Here’s the thing. If Starbucks put “Merry Christmas” on their cups, wouldn’t that be offensive to those who celebrate Hanukah? What about Kwanzaa? If you think you’re being persecuted by the lack of Christ on these cups, what would happen to those people?
Starbucks is a business. Their job is to sell coffee. Like it or not, they weren’t created to evangelize. Some companies were, and that’s beyond awesome. Starbucks just isn’t one of them.
I’m a Christian, and I understand that telling people about Jesus comes with that. But, I am offended by the idea that we should go up to the register and say our names are “Merry Christmas” so that the baristas will write it on the cups. What if your barista is devoted to their religion, but it isn’t Christianity? It’s just not right. If you want to talk about this subject with your barista, open up a dialogue. Ask them how they feel about it. Share your thoughts. Make a friend.
Instead of complaining about how you feel persecuted, go out and help those who actually are being persecuted. Evangelize, raise funds, go on missions, volunteer at a church. By complaining about Starbucks, all we do is bring more attention to them.
Take James 1:20 – “because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
Knowing that, how would Jesus want us to spend his birthday? By complaining about something that will be trash as soon as we’re done using it? Or, by being lights that help the lost find their way? You can help others begin their walk with God this Christmas season, and it isn’t by complaining.
Next time you’re at Starbucks, buy a cup – yes, a plain red cup – for the person behind you.
And, if you simply can’t go on living without seeing your version of Christmas on the cup that holds your white chocolate mocha, guess what… the cups are blank. Bring a Sharpie with you and draw your own design. Tell your own story.
Better yet, ask the person next to you what Christmas means to them and draw that on your cup. Gift them a smile, and let them find warmth in their favorite holiday memories. You’ll spread God’s love in a much more positive way.
Personally, I like these cups. And, I think Starbucks made the right decision. One of the vice presidents of the company said they aimed to embrace the “simplicity and quietness” of the holidays. I love that. Does God not call us to be still?
Scripture says, “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:15)
Believe it or not, that gift wasn’t coffee or the cups that house it. It was Jesus. Plain and simple – you won’t find him in your morning brew. Look deeper, examine your heart, and alter your thinking. I bet you’ll find what you’re looking for then.