A couple of weeks ago somebody sent me a video of a guy named Josh. I won’t give him any publicity by giving you his last name. Trust me, he doesn’t deserve it. Anyway, Josh’s video was all about how Starbucks hates Christmas because they took the snowflakes, poinsettias and Christmas ornaments off of their holiday cups. He angrily, and pretty boastfully, pointed out how he had put one over on Starbucks by giving his name as “Merry Christmas.” When Starbucks called out “Merry Christmas” to give him his order, he pointed out that he had found the loophole in their system and “made them say Merry Christmas.” Congratulations, Sparky, you just made millions of Christians look like morons. I’ve seen two or three of his other videos, and to be honest, I have seen better film on dishwater. Okay, that last bit may have been mean.
Dear Christian friends, there is so much suffering and pain in the world all around us, it is disturbing to see so many people getting wound up over Starbucks and their red cups. Look, Starbucks is a company who makes coffee and coffee products. It is not their job to share Christian cheer, wish us a Merry Christmas or a Happy Kwanzaa or anything else. Their job is to sell coffee. And simply taking the pretty innocuous symbols off the side of their cups doesn’t mean they are anti-Christmas anyway. Those are winter symbols at best. Maybe Starbucks hates winter. Or snow. Or poinsettias. I’m not crazy about poinsettias myself, they are too red, and they are spelled funny.
I am part owner of a t-shirt company. Guess what. We don’t have any Christmas t-shirts. Does that mean that I hate Christ? No, it means that the purpose of my company is to aim our efforts at other marketplaces. Ford doesn’t release special Christmas cars. Can you imagine if you bought the “Merry Christmas Ford Focus?” What would make it a Christmas car? Would the radio only play Christmas songs? Would it always have snow tires? Would the wheels look like little tiny snowmen, or the North Star? Who on earth would drive it? Well, I know of a couple of people, but they are the kind of person who singles “Jingle Bells” in July just to make people crazy.
Please, please, don’t expect Starbucks, or JC Penney, or Wal Mart or any other business to share Christ for you. It is our job as Christians to put Christ into Christmas. This war on Christmas goofiness is already getting out of hand. Some blunt skull has taken what should be a happy greeting that shows how God loved this world so much that he sent his only son to die for it. Instead, he has made it a way to prove a point that doesn’t matter to a company that doesn’t care. Come on, we’re better than that, and the birth of our savior is not meant to be used as political fodder.
I have watched “Christians” rudely point out that Happy Holidays doesn’t count for them, you must say Merry Christmas. Again, all you are doing is cheapening what should be good news by obliging people who may not understand or care about its depth say it to make you feel better.
Here’s a radical idea. Let’s show the world what Merry Christmas really means this year. Oh, not by griping about red cups, let’s do it by showing Christ’s love for a world that is starving to feel it. Let’s show what Merry Christmas means when it is lived out by people who believe it is more than a political point, and much more than just a phrase that is uttered to baristas and cashiers. Merry Christmas means that a Savior has come to save us, not another politician trying to prove a point.
Besides, Thanksgiving hasn’t even come yet. Can we save Christmas stuff until December?
Drinking coffee and wishing people the true meaning of Christmas… Jerry