Perhaps you have heard about the latest Christian "controversy."
I refuse to give them the validation of extra viewers and site clicks so I will not be offering a link, but a post is circulating the internet claiming that Christians are "super offended" over Starbucks' recent Christmas cup design.
You see, last year Starbucks' Christmas cups featured pine trees and winter scenes, a surefire sign that Starbucks supported all things baby Jesus.
This year, the cups are simply red, a less than convincing show of the corporation's Christmas spirit.
And, according to mainstream media, Christians are "outraged."
Are they though?
Are Christians truly outraged?
Does it honestly surprise us that a secular company does not plan to plaster manger scenes on their $7 cups of coffee?
Do we find it that surprising when the world acts like the world?
Most of us do not.
There is, I'm sure, a handful of Christians who are truly upset over this.
For the most part, however, I'd argue that my friend Kristin sums it up pretty well:
"Christians aren't super offended by this. Bored people are offended by this. Christians are offended by sexual trafficking and people dying because of the water shortage."
While I could surely think of hundreds, let's take a look at five things the Christians I know and love care about more than the Starbucks cup design.
1. The Syrian Refugees- The image of a young boy's lifeless body washed ashore in his attempts to flee to safety has not left my mind in weeks. We must enter in and be a safe place. We must take a stand that says our love for our fellow humanity will always supersede our fear of it. The care of our fellow human cannot be left to the government, but should instead be led by the church. May we be the first ones to welcome refugees.
2. Orphan Care- Today just so happens to be orphan Sunday. The statistics surrounding the orphan crisis are shocking. If only 7% of the world's Christians cared for just one orphan, the crisis would be resolved. This is not a statistic we can respond to with apathy. On top of it, we have hundreds of adoptive parents whose children are being held in limbo because of government holds on international adoptions. Red tape and ineffective policy is keeping these orphans out of the homes of their loving parents. They've long ago taken occupancy in their hearts and their parents financially provide for their living expenses, but are broken over an inability to hold their babies and bring them home. We have to care. We have to speak up, to advocate.
3. Caring for the Poor-1 in 6 Americans are facing hunger. Thousands are sleeping on our streets tonight. Our neighbors and their babies are literally starving in front of us. Jesus was pretty clear on the requirement for His followers to meet the needs of the poor. If His love is in us, we will not ignore their needs (1 John 3:17-18).
4. Human Trafficking- 600,000-800,000 people are trafficked across borders every single year. Research suggests that 50% of these are children. Local and global efforts to fight trafficking are growing rapidly. The church of this generation has the unique opportunity to end human trafficking in our lifetime.
5. Loving our lost neighbors- Jesus' ultimate calling on the life of every Christian is to make disciples (Matthew 28:16-20). Rather than yelling at the world for acting like the world, perhaps we could enter their lives with grace and a true desire to build relationships. We will only overcome darkness with light. We must push back in this way. We must fill our places with the light rather than adding hate and indignation to the equation.
I would argue that each of these things is far more worthy of our attention and concern than bullying a coffee chain into wishing us all a Merry Christmas. Should you feel so convicted by the cup design change that you reduce your consumption of overpriced coffee, perhaps these causes would be a worthy recipient of the money you save.
A popular blogger has even called on Christians to use Merry Christmas as the name for their order, thereby forcing employees to write the phrase on cups.
Can I beg you to use more civility, grace, and discernment than this?
Perhaps, our best response to Starbucks (and everyone with whom we find ourselves in disagreement) would be grace and love-- the unrelenting, freely given grace and love that the Jesus we want celebrated so regularly exhibited.
Next time, as you sip your Starbucks, ask the barista, or the mom in line behind you, about their Christmas plans and traditions. Listen. Then, if the door is open, lovingly share your own Christmas beliefs and traditions. Give freely as the season approaches and all year-round. Lavish the joy of our Savior and of this season on every person you encounter.
Perhaps we could then contribute to a truly Merry Christmas for us all.
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/27917561@N00/3322018222">Starbucks</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(license)</a>