A post appeared on my Facebook newsfeed the other day asserting Starbucks’ newest coffee cup attacks Christianity and its celebration of Christmas. I disregarded the post at first and assumed it was from the satirical news site, The Onion. To my dismay, however, the claim was real and it was getting wide media exposure.
The entire craze about Starbucks cups has left me rather dismayed. But not with Starbucks. Rather, I’m disturbed that Christian faith has become a token of culture wars. I’m finding myself explaining to friends that Christianity is much more than a symbol or mere words on a coffee cup. Christ didn’t simply become human so that we could fight over snowflakes on coffee cups.
I wonder if it isn’t about time for us Christians to live and speak in ways that truly reflect why God came among us as human: to liberate the captives, to give life to those in darkness and to proclaim the good news of God’s justice. Mary’s song of praise, the Magnificat, proclaims the goodness of God in Christ:
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever. (Luke 1:50-55)
If Mary’s response to the gift of God in Christ was to proclaim the good things that God has done for us, why don’t we?
The world desperately needs to hear and experience the news of God’s goodness and grace today, not our insistence that Merry Christmas be said all the time. For many, this time is not a happy time. There are many wounded and hurt people among us: the homeless man on the street, the refugee family seeking hope and new life, the brother and sister dying from cancer, the fragile baby born months premature, the neighbour in the depths of depression and the friend who recently became unemployed. These, and so many other women and men, long for some sign of God’s healing grace and peace. They yearn to be held, to be nurtured, to be loved. As Christians, the mystery of Christmas ought to compel us to be Christ to those for whom Christ came, not to slap a Merry Christmas on a cup.
Perhaps this ridiculous Starbucks controversy can wake us up from our slumber and remind us what we are truly called to be: a hopeful and happy people, completely dedicated to loving all God’s people.
-Don Beyers, Relationship Manager & Acquisitions Editor