It is rare that I am upset enough to write a strong opinion about a controversial subject but this is one that I felt propelled to sit down and write about. Readers certainly don’t have to share in my sentiments or agree but I am honestly sad and shocked at the outrage and energy that has been displayed with the unveiling of Starbuck’s 2015 holiday cup.
It is a cup. Period. It is nothing more than a container that holds a drink enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Yes, compared to the cup themes in the past, it is simple: an ombre from bright red to cranberry. So what? A war on Christmas? Seriously? Past themes have been distinct and unique each and every year but there has never been a theme that was specific to Jesus or Christianity. I do not recall a theme that captured an image of the cross, a nativity scene or the three wise men. Maybe I missed something but to the best of my knowledge, the themed cups have boasted winter themes including hand-drawn reindeer, snowmen and decorative ornaments to name a few. And, Starbucks continues to offer holiday gift cards and their Christmas blend coffee! Since when did Christianity have anything to do with the theme of a coffee shop or a cup?
We live in a world that is drowning in crisis. Look around. Read the papers. Watch the news. While hundreds of thousands of Syrians are being forced from their homes (half of them children), terrorist attacks are creating fear globally, the number of homeless people is rising and mass shootings continue to plague our communities, there are people that are declaring war on Starbucks and the decoration of a cup. Ridiculous energy has been wasted on something that millions of people cannot even afford to buy.
There are far bigger issues in our towns, our communities, our country and the world than what one company decides to choose for their cup design in the year of 2015. I am a Christian and while Christmas is about Jesus it is also about so much more. I agree that we have in some ways become desensitized to some of what Christmas is meant to be and that there is sometimes far too much focus on the wrong things during the holiday season but the red cup controversy has gone too far. For me, Christmas is about Jesus but it is also about helping others. It is about knocking down the walls of hate and rebuilding them with love. It is about being kind, paying it forward and giving to others. The holiday season is about love and NOT judging others. It is about helping fellow human beings out in their time of need regardless of religion, culture, race, rich or poor.
Starbucks, in my opinion, is simply a place that people can go to enjoy a cup of coffee. It is a place to meet friends and yes to laugh and enjoy a cup of holiday cheer. As stated in many articles this past week, “Creating a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity is one of the core values of Starbucks, and each year during the holidays the company aims to bring customers an experience that inspires the spirit of the season. Starbucks will continue to embrace and welcome customers from ALL backgrounds and religions in our stores around the world.” I would venture to guess this includes Christians.
So, in the spirit of this holiday season, let us not forget about what is truly important. Let us never forget about the many people that are suffering or in pain or grieving in the weeks to come and please, be kind, love others and lend a helping hand whenever you can. For me, that is in the spirit of Christmas. Blessings.