The Christmas Wars have started early this year. An Arizona evangelist and social-media personality is upset that Starbucks has removed traditional holiday symbols of snowflakes and ornaments from their coffee cups, switching to solid red. “Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus,” claims Joshua Feuerstein on his Facebook page. Feuerstein has urged Christians who patronize Starbucks to give their names as “Merry Christmas” so baristas will be forced to announce the traditional holiday greeting. A student pastor in Florida is also agitated about the red-cup decision, vowing never to visit Starbucks again and blasting the coffee giant for their “political correctness.”
After reading this story, the first question that popped into my head was, “When did Christians expect secular companies to proclaim the message of Christmas?” Other questions followed like, “What exactly do snowflakes and jingle bells have to do with the mystery of the Incarnation?”
The early church didn’t exactly live in a Christmas-friendly culture and look what they did. They powerfully carried their message without benefit of cars or jets. They had no internet to blog or tweet about Jesus, no smartphones to capture the crucifixion or resurrection of their Master. And still they “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). Paul, Peter and the rest of the apostles didn’t expect merchants to advance the Gospel; God had entrusted them, as believers, to do the job. And they did it with humility, not hubris.
I say let corporate America expunge traditional Christmas greetings and symbols all they want. That gives the church a clear playing field to share the real meaning of Christmas – not Santa or Rudolph or even a cute baby in a manger, but the earth-shattering visit of a Man who had the fullness of Deity residing in Him.