As the holiday season is beginning, a certain coffee giant’s red paper cups are causing more of a commotion than they should.
With the release of Starbucks’ annual holiday cup, many Christians are complaining that the company’s cups are slighting the idea of Christmas.
A few opinion videos on the topic have gone viral on YouTube and Facebook, including a video by social media personality Josh Feuerstein.
In his video, Feuerstein urges Christians to “trick” Starbucks employees into saying Merry Christmas by giving “Merry Christmas” as their name when they order a drink. He also makes other antagonistic comments toward Starbucks throughout the video. Many people have decided to wage the war for Christmas against Starbuck because of Feuerstein’s video.
The problem with Feuerstein’s video is that he fails to recognize that Starbucks is a secular company with no obligation to promote the Gospel or Christmas. Even if they were not recognizing Christmas, which isn’t true, they would have the right to do so because it is a private business.
Starbucks does, however, sell products within their store with “Christmas” on the packaging.
Starbucks has the right to add designs on their cups, leave them plain red, or to not do a holiday cup at all if they wish. There is no reason Christians should expect Starbucks to promote the Gospel when they have never advertised themselves as a Christian company.
Furthermore, the removal of extra design on this year’s cups, i.e. snowflakes or snowmen, does not represent the removal of Christmas.
The real meaning of Christmas is not represented by drawings of trees on a paper cup; Christmas is Christmas with or without wintery graphics. These graphics are not the reason or method of how Christians celebrate the true Christmas and shouldn’t be treated as such.
And unlike recent comments made by presidential candidate Donald Trump, Christians shouldn’t now take the further step and boycott Starbucks for their plain red cup design. There are many more important causes that we could be giving our time and effort.
Making a big deal about a cup or making employees write Merry Christmas on it isn’t going to show Christ to others just as snowflakes don’t tell of Jesus’ birth story.
If we are truly concerned about sharing the gospel, foolish antics like tricking baristas aren’t going to lead anyone closer to Christ and the true meaning of Christmas.
We need to be genuine examples of Christ to the baristas and others watching the way we conduct ourselves. As in Matthew 5, we need to “let [our] light so shine before men” so that we bring glory and honor to God.