Originally published Wednesday, 11 November 2015.
(Image courtesy of Starbucks.com)
Disclaimer: This post is more controversial than I normally write, so please don’t be offended. Hear my heart. I also realize that Starbucks supports agendas I don't agree with. However, This is about another issue.
Dear fellow Christians,
Isn’t it interesting how when December approaches everyone wants to rally for the words Merry Christmas? All of a sudden, there’s outrage based on what other people say or don’t say.
I have to tell you something: in a world where everything is off kilter and people are more concerned about red cups rather than their suffering neighbors, I feel hope.
I have hope shut up in my bones because the problem isn’t the red cup, it’s the lack of understanding for the meaning of Christmas every day of the year. Somehow, we’ve become disconnected with idea that Jesus is for every minute of every day.
Yes, the celebratory day of December 25th is important. Very important. But if you ask me, I think Jesus cares a whole lot more about how we act concerning His name all 365 days of the year, not just that one.
You see, it’s easy to be warm and tingly and love your scary neighbors when the weatherman says snow might fall and Silent Night is playing on every station. It’s easy to put a few cents in the Salvation Army’s shiny, red donation bucket outside the store when everyone else is doing it. But what about when everyone else isn’t? What about when the carols go silent?
So where does hope come into play?
Well, maybe hope will be found within this red cup debacle. Maybe people will become so disgusted that a crazy “evangelist’ wanted his 15 minutes of fame, that people will think about the person drinking the cup, not the cup itself.
I seem to remember a moment in the life of Jesus when He prayed that if it was possible the cup would be passed from Him. (See Mathew 26:38-40) Even though Jesus was willing and did what He had to for ALL of creation, it wasn’t easy. He was beaten, suffered, and died innocent for a guilty world deserving of death and hell. Thank you, Lord, for grace!
Now let’s relate the cup to us:
How often do we skip the prayer and pass the cup anyway? What about when kindness seems much too difficult to show the crazy lady or the mean old man behind the counter at the local grocery store? Do we pass the cup? Maybe we don’t want to give away hard-earned money to bless someone else. Do we pass the cup? Maybe we don’t want our co-worker to think we are one of those radical Christians when we invite them to church. Do we pass the cup? Are we guilty of doing nothing at all?
Too often, without a single prayer, we worry about our own will rather than His while quickly passing the cup as fast as humanly possible.
Christmas is about living every day for the rest of our lives holding our “cups” humbly and doing what God expects of us willingly.
We must show love.
Shouldn’t we let our cups overflow in hopes that we can help someone else fill theirs?
Friend, there will be many pressing events that happen in this world and most will not match up with Christianity. They will spark outrage and many of them should. However, it’s what we do with the spark that makes the difference. Will we use it as a light to love others? Or, will we try to burn those we don’t agree with? Jesus said ,”Love one another.” (See John 13:34-35) It’s as if we’ve decided to ignore that part. And ,worse yet, we do it in His name while blaming a red cup!
My bottom line for every controversial issue is this:
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath…
If you’re worried about your expression of Merry Christmas, let me leave you with this:
Starbucks cannot take Christmas away from you and either can anyone else! Whether or not the woman in front of you at the grocery store agrees or disagrees with the birth of Christ, she cannot steal your faith. If you’ve accepted Christ as your savior, then Jesus lives in you, as well as all of His love. Pour into another person’s cup!
Every store from now until the end of my lifetime can ban their employees from wishing me Merry Christmas, that’s okay. I’m not overly concerned with them. I’m concerned with myself. I’m concerned with my words and my choice to show others love because Jesus was born for me, died for me, and rose again for me. I will say merry Christmas because the birth of Christ reconciled me to my eternal Father. I will decorate my home because every piece of the holy day of Christ’s birth matters to me.
And, get ready, I will drink from a red cup this season!!!
When I do, you can bet I’ll wish the barista Merry Christmas, and I’ll do it in love, because everyone needs it. It’s not cliché, it’s truth. Everyone needs love, and they need light. Let’s use it to make a difference, not to burn others. I have no agenda but to live a life pleasing to Christ.
You might not agree with Starbucks, but I hardly believe they are trying to steal the words Merry Christmas from you. Please don’t expect others to be the church. Start with yourself. You be the church! I will too!
When your joy comes from Jesus, no one can steal it but you…
He was born for you, died for you, and rose again for you!
Don’t become caught up in publicity stunts and the worry of our free speech. We still have it in this country. And anyway, actions speak louder than words. So speak! And not just at Christmastime, but every day of the year. Jesus lives all 365 days. He has from the beginning of time and He will forever.
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