Today I went to Starbucks and ordered a Tall Caffe Americano with soy milk. My Coffee was delivered to me in a plain red holiday cup. The lack of snowflake designs on the cup infuriated me, because it clearly indicated that Starbucks hates Christmas. If any corporation hates Christmas, then they must also hate me and hate my God. I immediately threw the cup on the ground and took to the internet to express my rage over being religiously persecuted.
Except, No. I didn’t. Because that would be ridiculous.
The only thing I care about on the outside of my coffee cup is the daily note scribbled on it by my friend who works as a barista.
It’s worth mentioning that I have yet to have one real interaction with someone who was actually offended by the red Starbucks cup. Despite the massive stir it has caused, #cupgate represents the opinions of very few. This is yet another example of an extremely small group of people with very loud voices who are profoundly good at missing the point. Everyone else in the Christian community is just shaking their heads in confusion and shame.
Still, this whole “scandal” is indicative of an unfortunate trend.
I saw a “Keep Christ in Christmas” bumper sticker on the back of a pickup truck yesterday. As if anything could keep him out, I thought.
As we approach our American Christmas, a season marked by comfort, affluence, consumerism, and excessive consumption, some people will claim that they being religiously persecuted by a lack of Christmas Cheer. God help the unsuspecting store clerks who wish them a politically correct Happy Holidays in place of Merry Christmas.
For some religious people, being vocally “against” something makes them feel more pious, as if being offended by secular tends proved the authenticity of their faith.
This is probably a good time to pause and remember that in most of the world, Christians are actually persecuted.
When American Christians claim persecution in the face of absolutely neutral situations, it diminishes the very real struggles of our brothers and sisters all over the globe, who are being incarcerated, tortured, and killed for their faith.
Perhaps the cup offended you. Perhaps you feel that your excessively marketed, over the top consumeristic, exorbitant American holiday has been, in some minuscule way, not celebrated enough. Fine. But to suggest the being wished “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” or getting a plain red cup instead of a sparkly one is religious persecution is kind of like spitting in the face of actual victims of persecution.
No one has declared war on your Christmas. But maybe someone ought to.
If Christians really want to “Keep Christ in Christmas,” we would do well to remember that it is a holiday which marks our savior being born into poverty, in a barn, to a teenage girl. It is the story of how God emptied himself of all but love, and in complete humility, came to live among sinners.
We should take every opportunity this season to express our gratitude and humility instead our of outrage and resentment. That will keep Christ in Christmas better than any cup can.