… a former pastor … criticizing Starbucks for removing “Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus.”
Are you serious???
Exactly what do some people think Christmas is about?
So here’s what this is about. Look at the cups in the image above. These are this year’s “Christmas season” cups at Starbucks. Now they are under fire for “waging a war on Christmas”. You can read the whole story here. Below is an excerpt that gives the essence of the “problem” –
Starbucks removed the usual array of decorative images such as Christmas trees and snowflakes that adorned the cups in previous holidays with a simple red cup with their green and white logo.
While many people do associate “Christmas” trees and snowflakes with “Christmas” – what do they have to do with Jesus Christ – the real reason that Christians are supposed to be celebrating “Christmas”?
Let’s get real on this one. Snowflakes were around a long time before the birth of Christ.
The first instance of snow in the Bible – going by it’s printed order – is in Exodus 4:6 –
Ex 4:6 Then the LORD said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was leprous, like snow.
This was thousands of years before the birth of Christ.
BTW – while we do celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus in December – the actual time of His birth was more likely in the spring.
If we go by the order in which the books of the Bible may have been written, Job is likely the oldest. In that book we see where Job says about God –
Job 37:6 He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’
and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’
If anything, this one puts the first reference to snowflakes as being even earlier that the one in Exodus.
I made reference earlier to the birth of Christ likely being in the spring – not the end of December. At least part of the reason for choosing December had to do with the timing of pagan traditions.
From the history.com site – writing about Christmas trees, we find –
In the Northern hemisphere, the shortest day and longest night of the year falls on December 21 or December 22 and is called the winter solstice. Many ancient people believed that the sun was a god and that winter came every year because the sun god had become sick and weak. They celebrated the solstice because it meant that at last the sun god would begin to get well. Evergreen boughs reminded them of all the green plants that would grow again when the sun god was strong and summer would return.
Long before the advent of Christianity, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter. Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with pine, spruce, and fir trees, ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness.
Oops. Kind of makes one wonder about “Christmas” trees. doesn’t it?
To bear that out –
Most 19th-century Americans found Christmas trees an oddity. The first record of one being on display was in the 1830s by the German settlers of Pennsylvania, although trees had been a tradition in many German homes much earlier. The Pennsylvania German settlements had community trees as early as 1747. But, as late as the 1840s Christmas trees were seen as pagan symbols and not accepted by most Americans.
It is not surprising that, like many other festive Christmas customs, the tree was adopted so late in America. To the New England Puritans, Christmas was sacred. The pilgrims’s second governor, William Bradford, wrote that he tried hard to stamp out “pagan mockery” of the observance, penalizing any frivolity. The influential Oliver Cromwell preached against “the heathen traditions” of Christmas carols, decorated trees, and any joyful expression that desecrated “that sacred event.” In 1659, the General Court of Massachusetts enacted a law making any observance of December 25 (other than a church service) a penal offense; people were fined for hanging decorations. That stern solemnity continued until the 19th century, when the influx of German and Irish immigrants undermined the Puritan legacy.
So tell me – where is the real war on “Christ”(mas)?
Is it Starbucks – for removing “Christmas” tree and snowflakes from their cups –
the pagan originated tree and the snowflakes that were around thousands of years before the birth of Christ?
Or is it the people who argue so loudly that getting rid of these pagan trees and snowflakes that existed long before the birth of Jesus Christ?
Christians should be celebrating the birth of Christ. Not claiming that trees and snowflakes are somehow indicative of the reason why we celebrate Christmas. It takes the real issue entirely out of the conversation.
This is what it’s about for Christians – or at least what it should be about –
Lk 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Lk 2:13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
Lk 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
Lk 2:15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
Lk 2:16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
There are no “Christmas” trees mentioned here.
There are no snowflakes mentioned here.
This was about the birth of a baby. He is what this is all about.
We, today’s Christians, are in the same position as the people the shepherds and the people they spoke to.
And what did the shepherds do?
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
And what about the people who heard them?
all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
Is this not what we should be doing?
We should not be angry about symbols that have nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ.
No – we should be glorifying and praising God. Not complaining about what non-Christians are doing to symbols, many of which have nothing to do with what we should be talking about.
And people that hear us should be amazed by what we tell them. Not angry at us for complaining about these symbols.
Exactly who are we expecting to become believers when we resort to things like this?
Exactly how are we fulfilling the Great Commission by doing this?
Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Our focus should be on what God calls us to do –
and I, for one, don’t see how we accomplish this mission by getting so angry about things like “Christmas” trees and snowflakes.