Why I thought the Christian reaction to the Starbucks cup was a joke

The Philippines has this thing where they start playing Christmas music in September. It’s this thing called ‘Ber Months, where they start Christmas celebrations for the entire last quarter in an attempt to get you to start shopping for gifts. However, as an American, holiday season doesn’t start for me until after Halloween — same goes for the international coffee monster, Starbucks.  

I’m won’t front: I have a Gold status card back in NJ and a Philippines themed card where I’m collecting stars. I wholeheartedly agree that if you good coffee, you can go elsewhere. But if you want a consistent experience that you can rely on, you can go to Starbucks. During the holiday season, my energy tends to out — the cold weather made me restless and leaving the house early to take my time on an icy commute gave me less time in the morning. Thus, my Starbucks tradition began where I almost always get peppermint mocha, since it’s my favorite flavor (even though the actual coffee doesn’t quite spark joy in me). Since it’s become a regular part of my holiday routine, I was piqued to see on my newsfeed the BuzzFeed article titled, “Christians are Super Offended by the New Starbucks Red Cup Design.” 

Long story short: a lot of people seem to be pissed that Starbucks has a plain red design. Some such as  Joshua Feuerstein have posted that it’s the franchise’s way of saying “they hate Jesus.” Here’s a few reasons why my fellow Christians need to calm down on the matter.

  1. Holidays are holidays — not just Christmas. The red cup tradition is part of the holiday season, not just Christmas. I tell people Merry Christmas when it’s Advent because guess what: it’s a part of the Christmas season. However, the last time I checked, there are other holidays happening while their promotional cups are distributed. Maybe I’d be annoyed if on the 24th my church mates suddenly decided they wanted to send me off with ‘Happy Holidays,’ but anywhere else, there’s really no need.
  2. Say what you want to say. So what if your cup doesn’t say ‘Merry Christmas’ on it? No one’s stopping you from saying it. I just hope that the people who are set on saying it will be as open minded if someone greets them for other holidays like Eid.
  3. Starbucks never had Christmas cups to begin with. Sure, the cups previously had images of Christmas ornaments and doves, but when was there ever a cup featuring the nativity of Christ?
  4. Christmas should be mas Christ. Being Christian means leading by example. Seeing this reaction is a perfect example of parallelism to Mark 12:17. “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” At the end of the day, red cups are just a marketing scheme to make you crave having Starbucks, even if you can find better coffee somewhere else. Instead of sweating the small stuff, Christians should be welcoming and seeking peace — which IMO is half the point of Christmas. 

There are plenty of other things that I could go on about, especially after starting the conversation with my colleagues. These are just a few points that come to mind on the controversy that I wanted to share. I’d love to hear your thoughts, but good vibes only — it is the season to be jolly!

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