Christianity, Christmas, Starbucks

The Red Cup.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. [Matthew 6:21]

I have recently been convicted about my materialism. I have found myself questioning what I “treasure” most. At church this weekend, the pastor touched on just that. What do I prioritize? I love to have things and stuff and things. I love cool little gadgets. I love Apple products. I don’t need any of these things, but American society has made me think I do. I began considering other misconceptions I have about my faith. I want to build convictions like this. I want to trust God with my material possessions, and I want to have what I need, and I do; God has graciously given me that. I don’t want excessive junk. While I’m far from living that simplistic lifestyle, I am slowly working to make changes in my life so that I can be.

We live in a consumer-driven society. The most obvious example of this is Christmas. A holiday that originated with the birth of Jesus (that allegedly happened around December 25) has become one of the most commercialized holidays…ever.

The birth of Christ is something that Christians are rightfully proud of. The unfortunate truth is that we live in a society that tells us that isn’t enough. I grew up believing in Santa; I grew up wanting to be “good” all year so that I would get presents on Christmas day. I grew up decorating my house with my family. We created traditions as a family, and we continued traditions that have existed for much longer than I have. Somewhere, in all of the fuss over Christmas traditions, Jesus becomes an afterthought.

Another tradition that has been going on for a few years now is the red cup at Starbucks. I was unaware of the tradition until the recent social media explosion about the “anti-Jesus corporation.” Apparently, there is always some kind of impatient anticipation for the red cup each year; Starbucks has a cult following of people who like to Instagram things, and the red cup is a hot commodity. Disapproval was evident when some people realized that the red cup was just that: a red cup. I didn’t even know what the huge deal was until I googled the red cups of Christmases past (get it…Ghost of Christmas Past…cup of…whatever).

starbucks-red-cups-2in 2014, the red cup featured a weird looking tree and some rectangles.


in 2013, they featured some ornaments and other strange geometric shapes.

Who am I kidding, I still don’t know what the big deal is. I think the issue with the red cup is not the fact that Starbucks has chosen not to cover the cup with awkward geometric shapes and Christmas decorations. I think the issue is that this bothers us. We are afraid that when people aren’t reminded of Christmas when they sip their skim-milk-no-whip-latte, that Christianity will be forgotten. We are a pissed off community of believers when corporations make “politically correct” moves. It makes no sense. I have another idea: rejoice.

Instead of attacking Starbucks for “killing Christmas” and “hating Jesus,” why don’t we rejoice that there is one less consumer-driven, over-commercialized representation of our Savior? Or…is that not important?

We should fight to end the commercialization of Christmas. Christmas isn’t about red cups, green garland, stupid ornaments, and tangled up lights. Christmas is symbolizing the birth of Jesus Christ, the one and only true Savior of the world. That is a treasure. That is THE treasure.

Instead of rebelling against a non-Christian corporation and fighting to shove a commercialized idea of Christmas down people’s throats, why don’t we dig into what the real meaning of Christmas is? Why don’t we represent the Savior that Christmas celebrates, and serve our community? Instead of spending $5 on burnt coffee just so we can make Starbucks employees write “Merry Christmas” on a cup, why don’t we buy $5 worth of food to give the homeless guy sitting on the side of the highway and pray with him?

Why don’t we tell people about Jesus? I think it’s because we don’t care about Jesus. We love “Commercial Christmas” because we get more junk that we don’t need. We get to feel good about buying other people gifts. I get that. It feels great to give people things. Do you realize that you, Christian, have the ability to share the greatest gift of all gifts with your neighbor? Do you realize that you could share eternally good news with someone who has never been exposed to it?

Instead of whining about red cups, why don’t we spread real joy?

Join Starbucks. Boycott Christmas this year. Fight consumerism. Bash commercialization of Christmas. Rejoice when corporations like Starbucks distance themselves from Christianity. When people think about Christianity, I want them to think of something much greater than a fat man in a red suit. I want them to think about something much greater than a red cup. I especially don’t want them to think about Starbucks (no offense, but it’s not the best coffee I’ve ever sipped). I want them to think about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I want them to think about forgiveness of sins. I want them to think about life defeating death. I don’t think these things will happen when I get pissy about Christmas decorations on my coffee cup.

I would love to see Christians step away from commercialization. Let’s be different. Let’s live humbly. Let’s actually try to live like Jesus. There’s absolutely nothing commercial about dying to your desires and living your life to glorify God. I am asking myself a hard question this year: “Where is my treasure?” What is the thing that is going to give me the most pleasure? What is going to bring me the most joy this year? My heart lies with that answer, and I want that answer to be Jesus.

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