Halloween is over. For the world of retail that means it is officially time to start hanging Christmas or holiday decorations and bring out the Santas, snowmen, elves, and reindeer. This is also—unfortunately—the official signal to begin beating the “war on Christmas” drum.
This year’s inaugural volley is aimed at Starbucks for daring to insult good Christians everywhere by attacking Christmas by offering a plain red cup devoid of impressionistic depictions of snowflakes, poinsettias, or traditional ornaments.
Seriously???? Talk about straining out a gnat only to swallow a camel…
I submit that if Starbucks printed holiday cups with “Merry Christmas” on the side or a silhouette of a manger scene, or even printed “Jesus is the reason for the season” on their cups, neither the state of the church nor the morality of the culture would change one bit. The only thing that would change would be where a portion of the Christian population decided to spend their coffee money.
PC and “holiday” banners, slogans, bumper stickers, billboards, and coffee cups are not the problem we need to be addressing. It is the shallow understanding and practice of Christianity that is the problem. Why should we be surprised that the world is worldly? Why should we be surprised that people who have no relationship with Jesus or the church don’t want to recognize that Jesus is the reason for the season?
What we should be surprised at is the lack of grace and compassion that some people who profess to be Christians have taken in response to it. What we should be surprised at is the lack of meekness, humility, and gentleness that is exhibited by those who claim to be followers of Jesus. Like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 (NIV), What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Because as Paul tells us elsewhere,
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? (Romans 2:1-4, NIV).
Christians are ambassadors for Jesus, not His proxy judges;
they are to love their neighbor,
not deride their neighbor before others;
they are to pray for those who persecute them,
not stir up a campaign against them;
they are to conduct themselves in the truth,
not gripe about others who are not;
and they are to always respond to others with grace,
not to reserve grace for those whom they agree with.
Jesus said, A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:34, NIV). Let us focus on doing that more and more and worry about the color of cups and what they may or may not imply less. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.