“I’ll have a grande cold brew.”
Standard order, standard day, though I did noticed that the holiday drinks were displayed on the Starbucks blackboard and the red cups were noticeably visible on the counter.
Huh. Cool design. I mean, I probably would have chosen a more burgundy/red ombré, but to each their own. A red cup is a red cup, am I right? Especially when your red cup is actually a plastic cup because you order cold beverages year round due to the hot roasts at Starbucks tasting like burnt battery acid.
So, imagine my surprise when I noticed the internet absolutely buzzing with vicious outrage over the sacrilege Starbucks displayed by not putting snowflakes on their new holiday cup design.
If you’re been living under a rock, you may not have heard that a sect of highly offended people are warring against Starbucks for their apparent war against Christmas and Christians as a whole. You see, in the past, Starbucks has released their much-anticipated red cups with holiday scenes featuring snowmen, snowflakes, Christmas trees, and my personal favorite: a squirrel wearing a scarf. I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me feel closer to Jesus and the reason behind the season like an anthropomorphic rodent frolicking in the snow on my $5 gingerbread latte. Everything about that screams Biblical accuracy in its most prolific form.
I normally keep silent about current events, at least on the internet. I grow tired of people arguing with one another over things that don’t matter even when they’re trying to convince people they matter and then ignoring the events that should be making the headlines of social media feeds. It’s often just added noise, and why add to it? Everyone has an opinion. Everyone is outraged over something ridiculous until the next ridiculous outrage occurs and then the first is promptly forgotten.
But I can’t keep quiet about this. I am outraged at the outrage and people will probably be outraged at my outrage over their outrage and then we can all just keep shouting at one another on the internet, not solving anything because WAS THIS EVEN AN ISSUE THAT NEEDED TO BE FIXED IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Let’s stop looking for reasons to be offended and think about this logically and sanely for a few minutes. Starbucks is acknowledging Christmas and the holiday season with red cups. They haven’t stopped. The lack of snowflake and “holiday” design is not a war on Christmas, Christians, or Jesus for several reasons:
- Jesus didn’t drink Starbucks and He doesn’t care what’s on your coffee cup. He might care that you just spent half of your rent money this month on caffeinated beverages, but He doesn’t care about the cup design. He also might care that you are yelling at strangers in His name because your coffee cup doesn’t have a cartoon on it.
- Jesus probably wasn’t born in the snow. Snowflakes in fact have zero to do with Christmas, or Jesus’ birth, which is in fact the reason for Christmas. Jesus was born in the Middle East in the desert. They don’t get a lot of snow there. Or snowmen. Or scarf-wearing squirrels as it were. One might even argue that the basic red design is more indicative of the desert-like landscape that Jesus might have seen in his childhood.
- Starbucks is still selling their famous “Christmas Blend” coffee. It’s in a bag beside the cash register. They actually used the term Christmas. They don’t call it Holiday Blend or Season-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named Blend. That’s Voldemort. He is who-shall-not-be-named. Oh no, I probably just offended someone because I’ve seen Harry Potter. Crap, crap, crap…
- Christmas trees also have nothing to do with Jesus. For the record.
- There is verifiable trend towards minimalism right now. It’s really popular in fashion, in décor, on Instagram. Could it just be the Starbucks is just trying to make their new plain red cups more ‘grammable? No, of course not. Because that’s logical.
So, can we talk about what the real issue is here? The issue isn’t Starbucks, red cups, or a perceived war on Christmas.
We are the issue. We cut one another down and verbally lambaste anyone who do not agree with us, all from behind our internet walls. We create a ruckus… not over poverty, injustice, death, homelessness, or refugees trying to reach safety, but over… coffee cups? We are the ones who give Christians a bad name when what moves us into action and speech isn’t the justice and love of others, but a furthering of our own perverted sense of doctrine.
We have decided that it is more important to win an argument than to show the love of God, of our Christmas-time Savior, to others. We do not behave with grace on the internet, we do not look for the good, or champion those who have no voice. We are offended only for offense sake. We are offended only over what is convenient. We are offended over what is easy, over what requires nothing of us. We can loudly complain and be outraged for a short time and then move on. But to be outraged and offended over social injustice, over poverty, over children with no medication or clean water… that would require something of us. That would require us to get off of Facebook and actually help, not just complain.
But that’s what Jesus did at Christmas. He left Heaven, all the comforts you could imagine, and He humbled himself to the point of death to help us. He recognized that we wouldn’t always get it right, but He was going to have grace for us, for our fallen condition anyway. God became an infant at Christmas, so we could, what? Belittle one another on the internet over coffee cups? That isn’t Christ. That isn’t His message, His Gospel. And that certainly wasn’t His example.
So please, this Christmas season, choose what truly matters. Share kind words. Have grace for people, even if they don’t do something the way you would. Not everyone is in the same place or holds the same beliefs as you… but the thing is, you can turn them off to Christianity forever if you scream at them over coffee cups in the name of Jesus. Love people where they are at, just as Jesus did. THAT’S how you change people’s minds and hearts—by showing them the grace of Jesus. Spread the true Gospel of hope, not the gospel of judgment and internet terror.
What’s on your coffee cup will not have an eternal impact, but the way that you react to it just might.