Can I just say that I’m more than a little disheartened that the first volley in this year’s “War on Christmas” seems to be over a red coffee cup.
I hate to be the one to say it, but for me, this so-called “War on Christmas” was lost long ago; a beaten and bloodied casualty at the hands of a free market society and retail commercialism as we see more and more displays of Santa, reindeer, green and red baubles, and candy—always the candy—showing up on store shelves and display windows even before the ghouls and goblins of Halloween have been tucked away. Look no further than the ever-increasing creep of “Black Friday” sales now encroaching on Thanksgiving dinner…even into that particular Thursday’s breakfast and pre-dawn hours.
Further, I don’t see the War on Christmas as so much an “us vs. them” conflict as I do an internal civil war. A war created by a master deceiver, drawing our attention away from what should be truly important to us and instead toward such superfluous bickering like what is or is not on a secular corporation’s coffee cup.
Wasn’t it Christ who said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls”? (Luke 11:17)
Didn’t the Apostle Paul also write, “But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law (or coffee cups, cashier greetings, window displays, et.al), for they are unprofitable and worthless. (Titus 3:9-10, with a bit of editing)
Paul continues: “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” (Titus 3:10-11, and I’m looking at you Josh Feuerstein)
And didn’t Jude, the brother of James, write, “These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage…It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear…” (Jude 1:16, 19-23, emphasis mine)
None of these were written against the world, but against those within the church itself; as Jude puts it, those “certain people (who) have crept in (among the faithful)”
With rare exception, retail stores like Starbucks, Target, and any other who chooses to put up neutral displays, or says it’s employees are to greet customers with a hearty “Happy Holidays”, are not Christian companies. That’s not a slam, that’s a simple fact. Why in the world are we getting offended when they fail to uphold our misguided expectation of adherence to Christian beliefs, or to express Christian language? They’re secular organizations trying to appeal to the widest swath of customers possible in pursuit of market share and profit. You know, the ‘Murican way!
If anything, they are a prime example of who we should be “the light of the world” for.
Light doesn’t produce offense. Light illuminates. Light guides. Light holds back the darkness and, as such, should be a relief and comfort to those caught up and blinded by the darkness.
Yes, Jesus is the “reason for the season”. But that sentiment needs to be spoken in gladness with family around the dinner table, talked of in grace with friends over a cup of coffee or pint of beer, preached as “good news” from the pulpit in the weeks leading up to the day. NOT ranted into an I-phone with venom and arrogance and posted on social media.
Josh Feuerstein, and other ‘certain people’ who think that saying your name is “Merry Christmas” so the Starbucks barista has to shout it out when your order’s ready? You’re not helping.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another (Starbucks) and, if one has a complaint against another (Starbucks), forgiving each other (Starbucks, and, by all means, buy a cup of coffee for the stranger behind you in line and wish them a “Merry Christmas”)
As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:12-15)