An Open Letter: Starbucks and the ‘War on Christmas’

I’ll admit it: my first mistake was reading an article on Breitbart. I saw the headline and they got me, I fell for the clickbait.

“WAR ON CHRISTMAS: STARBUCKS RED CUPS ARE EMBLEMATIC OF THE CHRISTIAN CULTURE CLEANSING OF THE WEST”

For the record, I didn’t click on the article because I believed in any way that the headline would reflect truth nor did I continue to read the article thinking that I would have my opinion changed in any way. I dove in head first knowing that I was reading grade A bullcrap. I clicked and read because I am a person that tries (and sometimes fails) to follow the tenets and teachings of Christ and because, like Buddy the Elf:

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The article tries to disseminate the idea that because Starbucks’ annual red cups, which are meant to acknowledge and celebrate the holidays, aren’t festive enough; Starbucks is perpetuating, even advancing, the “War on Christmas”. Let’s just forget that Starbucks is an individual corporation free to market itself any way it pleases. Let’s forget that they don’t even have to make their cups red in the first place. Let’s overlook that they have a coffee roast that comes out every single year appropriately named, “Christmas Blend” or that they sell an Advent Calendar. Let’s ignore the idea that they are trying to be open minded and market to a wide demographic of people who prefer to celebrate other holidays this time of year or who choose not to celebrate any holidays at all. This is clearly a calculated attack on Christmas, and by association, Christianity itself.

The article itself is relentless. It’s unnecessarily critical of Starbucks products and the people who patronize the business. The author of the article openly mocks the baristas for misspelling an uncommon name in the Western world in an article demonizing the Eastern world (the part of the world in which Christ was born). He accuses Starbucks of “subliminally, (telling it’s customers) that this time of year is no longer about Christmas.” My favorite part is when he states “It’s a ‘holiday season'” with “holiday season” in quotes. Why is this my favorite part?

BECAUSE IT IS A HOLIDAY SEASON

Some Christians have this idea that December is exclusively our month and it’s been that way since (sarcasm alert) Jesus himself came over on the Mayflower and planted the first American flag straight into Plymouth Rock to commemorate the day of his birth (December 25) before founding Fox News to ensure Christmas would always have a righteous defender.

Forget that there is no evidence to suggest that Jesus Christ was ever actually born on December 25, there is simply no room for other holidays. There is no room to observe a holiday like Hanukkah with origins based long before the actual birth of Christ. I can’t believe that anyone would ever want to acknowledge a holiday that Jesus Christ himself celebrated in scripture.

I guess if we can’t call it a holiday season, there is no room for Kwanzaa which is cultural and doesn’t even conflict in ideology with Christmas. Forget Bodhi Day or Ramadan.

We can’t celebrate other holidays like the Feast of Saint Nicholas which is a Christian holiday on December 6. Don’t mention Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve, or New Years Day which are completely secular in nature but recognized by Christians around the world.

Here’s the thing: tolerating someone’s ability to believe something different from you doesn’t mean you’re accepting their belief, it just means you’re not being a jerk about it.

Ask anyone, I’m a Christmas nut. I’m that annoying guy who starts listening to Christmas music in October and has a Christmas countdown on his phone so he always knows exactly how far away the most wonderful time of the year is. I tell people “Merry Christmas” every chance I get starting with the day after Thanksgiving. Sometimes they say it back, sometimes they say “Happy Holidays”, sometimes I’ll get a response related to another specific holiday, and sometimes they say nothing back at all. The response makes no difference to me. The intent is what matters. My intent is to spread a little cheer while acknowledging that my thoughts, my beliefs and I are not the only things existing on this planet, Christmas is not the only holiday in December, and Starbucks red cups are not a subliminal nor purposeful attack on anyone. If you think otherwise, you’re just kidding yourself.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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Happy Thanksgiving

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

I Thessalonians 5:18

 

Being thankful is not always easy. It’s something I try to practice on a daily basis as I pray and think on the blessings I’ve received but not something I always accomplish. Of course, there is usually an emphasis on it around this time of year as Thanksgiving approaches. However, it seems this year there is more emphasis on what is wrong with the world. There has been a harsh focus for the past week on political and social differences with little focus on what is good and right with the world. I wanted to share with you some things for which I am thankful. I hope it encourages you to spend some time considering all you’ve been given.

Christ, Mom, Dad, Denise, Tori, Griff, Brittany, Addison, Logan, Jordyn, Korban, Lawson, Becca, Bradley, Maria, Goggy, Grandad, Kay, Scott, Ashlyn, Natalie, Lauren, Nathan, Clark, Jeff, CUMC, Matt, Zach, Pat, Joan, Berk, Michael, LPYC, Jim, Amy, Sarah, FUMC-Trussville Youth, Bluff Park UMC, ministry opportunities given to me, mercy, grace, the cross, music, and Advent Conspiracy.

This is just a small list of things currently on my mind but there are so many other people and things that I could share with you. I have lived a blessed life, even when I maybe wasn’t able to see it or realize it.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving Day.

Music Monday 11.24.14

“Thankful” by Josh Groban

I had been having a pretty rough day last week when I heard this song for the first time. It has actually been on a playlist that I listen to often and I had either not noticed it before or it simply hadn’t played before that time. I was stressed, I was upset, and I was complaining to myself about a person that had really aggravated me earlier in the day. I was going through my day in a less-than-great mood blinded to everything around me. As I stewed, this song came on Spotify. I didn’t immediately notice it really, I was too concerned with myself (the irony found in the first three lines of the song). I was dwelling on how that person had upset me when the song finally grabbed my attention with “Each of us can find each other’s light”. I started the song over and listened to it a couple times. I googled the lyrics and listened again.

Even as we approach Thanksgiving this Thursday, it’s easy for each of us to get caught up in day-to-day stress and forget all the things for which we should be thankful. I know because I’m guilty of it and I see others do the same. This song was a refreshing reminder of how important it is for us to focus on the positive of what we have been given…even those people who may aggravate us at times. Every person brings something to the table and enhances this thing we call life, and it’s up to us to “find each other’s light” as we all “find our truth”.

 

I’ve created a playlist on Spotify featuring all the songs from Music Monday, feel free to follow it along with the posts.

Merry Thanksgiving and Happy Christmas

It’s no secret to anyone that I love Christmas. I mean love it. The music, the movies, the decorations, the tacky sweaters…it makes me happy. For one reason or another, some people seem to take offense to my love of Christmas extending to before Thanksgiving and even Halloween. To these people, I say: get over it.

I love Christmas and I want it to last as long as possible. You don’t have to participate if you don’t want to. Feel free to wait until the Friday after Thanksgiving if you want. Feel free to wait until Christmas Eve if you want. I’m not going to fault you for celebrating Christmas the way you want to and I expect the same from you.

Here’s the thing: being pro-Christmas isn’t being anti-Thanksgiving. I like Thanksgiving. I like the idea of our families coming together to be thankful for our blessings from throughout the year and football. Just because I begin listening to Christmas music or talking about Christmas before Thanksgiving, doesn’t mean I hate the holiday. I’m not going to force my music on you so don’t get upset with me for choosing to listen to it.

I’m not going to lie, about four months ago, I dreaded the thought of Christmas this year. The Christmas season has always been important to me and it was a big deal to me and my ex-wife. It was something we both shared…and the thought of having to go through the season recently divorced honestly scared the hell out of me. I thought I would only be able to dwell on the lost memories and therefore be depressed. Instead, my mind has been more clear than ever before of the “reason for the season”.

Christmas is a time to celebrate a God who, for our sakes, loved us enough to take on human form and come down to a dark world with the sole intent of enduring the cross and sanctifying us with his sacrificial death. Why am I supposed to wait until after Thanksgiving again? It’s cliche but I don’t care because it literally is the greatest story ever told. It is the most perfect gift ever given.

So if I want to sing “O Holy Night” on November 1st or watch Charlie Brown Christmas on November 12th, don’t be upset. You celebrate how you want and I’ll celebrate how I want. Neither my wanting to celebrate early or you’re wanting to celebrate later is greater than the other, it’s just different perspectives that ultimately achieve the same goal of recognizing the beginning of a great sacrifice. I hope you enjoy this holiday season, I know I will. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas.