Last year when the original Starbucks cup controversy hit the internet, I wrote a post entitled "Topless Mermaids Have Nothing To Do With Jesus". When the green cup was revealed this year, I wrote a post entitled "I'm Christian And I'm Not Offended By Starbucks Cups" because, well, I just want all of you to be aware that not all Christians spend their time concerned with reclaiming a holiday that celebrates the birth of Christ (instead of spending their time writing about it on The Huffington Post). The reason I'm personally not is that it's not MY holiday. It's the birthday of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, not MY birthday. I absolutely want people to experience what I have in my relationship with Jesus, but I also understand the actual history of the holiday. (Did you know it was once illegal to celebrate Christmas in the United States? Or that Jesus probably wasn't born on December 25?) It really is possible to reconcile your personal beliefs with the reality that the Christmas the general public celebrates is different from the Christmas many Christians want people to celebrate. Unfortunately, you can't arm wrestle the American public into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You do have the opportunity to show them who Jesus is, though.
When Starbucks revealed this season's red cup, I can't help but appreciate the nature theme. I'm sure someone has come up with a way that this is anti-Christmas or from another religious background. Again, you really should look into the logo of Starbucks. They aren't trying to hide anything. They aren't Christian. But, if you are Christian, you can agree to celebrate that God created nature and that his creation is awesome. So focus on that if you choose to continue to grab a coffee on the way to work.
I'll be honest, last Christmas I hung a wreath on my door with a sign that said, "Merry CHRISTmas" but the way I view that is it's MY house and that is the holiday I was celebrating. We live in the United States of America, and as of today, I'm permitted to share my religious beliefs. On the other hand, I would never expect a company like Starbucks to put that same message on their cup.
I'll be honest, a few Christmas' ago I had a magnet on my car that read, "Keep Christ in Christmas" and that's how I feel. I do hope that people keep Christ in Christmas. But I believe that is something we choose to do as individuals - and really through action.
One thing I appreciate about the holiday season is that people of many religious backgrounds (even atheists, believe it or not) put into action the things Jesus inspires many of us Christians to do everyday. It is a time that everyone, regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs, unite in the concept that being kind to others is beneficial to all.
So while some Christians may feel that their holiday is being taken from them, in my opinion, the reality is that it's an opportunity to share your faith with others through action during a time period where it's not so awkward! During the holiday season, more than others, it becomes more socially acceptable to do things like invite strangers over for dinner. So do it.
The holiday season opens up something awesome: an opportunity to live out your faith in a seriously awesome way. People and organizations are more open to receiving gifts, receiving help, and are actually sometimes more in need. For example, non-profit organizations are trying to finish out the year financially. You can give financially to organizations that represent your religious beliefs. These contributions go further than you can imagine because these organizations make it their business to stretch every dollar. Not only that, an advantage during the holiday season is that contributions are often doubled or tripled by generous donors. You can also check with your employer because they will often do that as well. I personally attended a small, private, religiously affiliated university for my undergraduate degree and they always have some sort of promotion to encourage you to give at the end of the year. Put your faith into action and take advantage of those opportunities!
If you are a Christian who does miss Christmas themed cups as Starbucks, you're entitled to your opinion just as much as I am. But I encourage you to stop going there if you disagree with their business strategy and start going to businesses that do represent your values. When you vote with your pocketbook, things change.
So give some pocket change to the guy on the corner, write a check to a charity, and shop at businesses that are aligned with your values. That keeps Christ in Christmas. Get out there and volunteer at a shelter for people without homes, hang out with your elderly neighbor, offer to pray for someone or stand up for the rights of those who are less privileged than yourself. That keeps Christ in Christmas.
And if you want to kick it up a notch, live your life in such a way that it is Christmas everyday.
This post originally appeared on my blog, WomanlyWoman.com.