Lately, I have been reading articles and posts about Starbucks that has caused many Christians to have a couple of choice words for this well known coffee chain. At first, I thought it was because Starbucks was giving their Christian employees a hard time or maybe Starbucks might have been guilty of trafficking individuals overseas to labor in the fields harvesting coffee beans in harsh conditions. I have thought wrong. It’s not about issues pertaining to a Christian group nor is it about the mistreatment of an person work.
This controversy is about one little thing, a red cup. For those who are not familiar with the Starbucks tradition of the holiday themed cups, Starbucks serves hot coffee drinks in a “festive ” cup throughout the months of November and December with various designs like a snowman, sled, and ornaments. This year, Starbucks decided to not design the cups in the name of simplicity. However, some of our brothers and sisters in Christ are not too pleased with enjoying their peppermint mochas and chestnut praline lattes with a simple red cup. One evangelist decided to send a little PSA to his followers accusing Starbucks for “removing Christmas ” because they hate Christ. He mentioned that he took the initiative and “pranked”them by saying that his name is “Merry Christmas” and challenged all Christians to do the same.
As a minister of the gospel, I have a problem with Evangelist Feurstein’s approach for so many reasons:
- What does a Christmas ornament have to do with the meaning of CHRISTmas? Christmas is not about Santa Clause and Ornaments. It’s about the First Advent of Christ, the birth of the heartbeat of Christianity. The humble and mild man who was born to die for the world doomed to death by sin and has broken that curse. The birth of the Gospel in the flesh. The reason why we have the blessed hope when the world ends because the same baby that was born on Christmas (supposedly) is the one we are waiting for to take us to heaven when He returns on the clouds of glory. That is what Christmas means to me as a Christian.
- Telling a barista that your name is Merry Christmas is lying, thus contradicts God’s commandment about “bearing false witness.” If I was a barista, I would have given that person a side eye saying “Is this a sick joke?” What kind of witness are you for contradicting your morals? What kind of example are you showing your children when you say that your name is Merry Christmas? There is no justification for such act of hypocrisy.
- Some of the “My name is Merry Christmas” supporters accused Starbucks for being pagan needs a brief history 101 about the origin of Christmas. Christmas, like Easter and Halloween, came from pagan roots. It is based on the Norse’s celebration of Yule in Scandinavia around the time of the winter solstice (the time when the worst of winter was coming to an end) from the 21st of December until January. Does the song, “12 days of Christmas”, ring a bell to you? In honor of the sun returning, the men would bring home large logs which would be set on fire and that log would burn for about 12 days. This is how we adopted the idea of burning a log on the fireplace during the Christmas season. According to the Norse, each spark from the fire burning the log would represent a new pig or calf that would be born during the new year. Before you do a witch hunt for pagans, take the time to read about the history behind certain Christian Holidays.
- We have other stuff to worry about and invest our energy on. Why is one being worked up about a cup that will be thrown away in the trash or recycled after drinking from it? We, as Christians, need to focus on things that matter the most like addressing social issues like human trafficking, domestic violence, racial and gender inequality, poverty, suicide, bullying, drug abuse, education reform and food deserts. What is a solid red cup going to do for all of these problems? We have a mandate given by Christ to spread the Good News about the person and work about Jesus.
- Why are we worried about the outward appearance of the cup? This reminds me of the Pharisees in Matthew 23. They focused so much on what’s seen outside than what’s in side. Here is the verse that stood out to me in this cup situation: ““What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence!”Matthew 23:25 NLT. Whenever I go to Starbucks, it is not for the outward appearance of the cup but what’s inside it. It’s matters to me that what’s in the red cup is a warm cup of hot white chocolate or a pumpkin spice latte with a pump of vanilla. The look of a cup should never govern the taste of the drink.
Therefore, let us not get worked up about a slight change in a cup. There is nothing wrong with keeping it simple. Let us once again use our energy on issues that matters the most and not on petty things like cups that will be thrown away momentarily. Just enjoy your warm peppermint hot chocolate in peace.
Forever naturally adorned,