Now that the dust is starting to settle from the Starbucks red cup controversy (yes it has barely been a couple of days and the dust is already settling. That itself is commentary on our attention spans), I would like to make an observation. This observation is one that I have not yet read in the vast sea of comments made about this particular subject. This observation may help Christians understand why some businesses and people choose not to celebrate Christmas the way they do. Are you ready for it? Here it is:
Non-Christians have no obligation to celebrate a Christian holiday in any way, shape, or form.
Since when did Christians begin to believe that everyone in the nation should celebrate the birth of the eternal Word of God? Since when did Christians begin to say that if a company does not believe that Jesus is the Messiah that takes away the sins of the world they won’t get our business? Many businesses have never believed that, but if they put Santa Claus with some reindeer out front, Christians believe they are celebrating Christmas.
I know the roots of some of the Christmas traditions are pagan but let’s be honest, the purpose of celebrating Christmas is a Christian idea. However, over the years, I believe Christians have equated Christmas as being an American holiday as much as a Christian one. The backlash (whether or not those who are offended would admit it) is more over American values than Christian worship. That’s why Joshua Feuerstein said that he exercises his second amendment when he goes into Starbucks while wearing his Jesus shirt.
It’s time to separate American tradition from Christian doctrine.
In fact, I would not be hurt if more businesses stopped celebrating the American version of Christmas altogether. It is not Christian anyway. The American version is about gifts. It’s about decorations. It’s about Santa and all the awesome Christmas movies. It’s about making money. It’s about the color or pattern on a coffee cup. I’m not saying these are bad; I’m saying they are not the point.
True Christmas is about the incarnation of God the Son. It’s about him ushering in the New Covenant. It’s about even though he was in the “form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7). It’s about the Word of God putting on flesh and dwelling among us (John 1:14). It’s about worshipping the one who fulfills the prophecies spoken long ago. It’s about Jesus, and only Jesus.
Starbucks and many other companies never started celebrating the Christian version of Christmas in the first place. They celebrate the American version wrapped in shrouds of materialism and self-righteous charity. They don’t celebrate the Christian version of worshipping the incarnate Son of God. They have no obligation to. Therefore, you have the obligation to not be offended.