This paragraph will be the last mention of the red cup at Starbucks. There are much more long-reaching problems with my brothers and sisters in Christ than their defending to the death the right of major franchise to do what they want with their marketing.
So listen, fellow Christians: Christmas is the birth of Christ to us. Yes it is. No doubt. Do you get that not everybody celebrates that? That not everybody loves Jesus like you do? Stay with me, I’m not even halfway there yet.
You love Jesus. You want other people to love Jesus. You celebrate his birthday. You want other people to say his name and recognize his importance, but they just don’t. Do you get that Jesus is Jesus and the world is the world? That they’re not connected, and that’s why Jesus came in the first place? Just try to wrap your mind around this: maybe the rest of the year, the world doesn’t even get close to the Jesus you love. But they do at Christmas. Maybe they’re celebrating the season because they like the presents, or maybe they’re fans of eggnog. Could be they like the movies. Does it make sense, though, that though they may not love your Savior, they are doing something different in their lives because of him? Then we go and ruin it by telling everyone they’re not saying the right words. Some of us even go so far as to remind everyone “I’m not politically correct!” like that’s something to brag about in the midst of the season of love. Forget peace on earth, let’s start pointless arguments with no winners.
How about looking at it like this: When I was in kindergarten, I had a birthday party and invited my entire class. Probably because I wanted more toys. The only kid I remember being there was this boy named Nathan, and the only reason I remember that is because he threw our basement door open and tore the chain lock off. I’m sure there were other kids there, and I know some of them brought presents, but they’re all pretty much the same in my mind now. Probably some of them didn’t like me that much, maybe they wanted cake. For five-year-olds, there’s a pretty good chance that they actually had no opinion at all. They still came, they all got cake, and shared equally in my mom’s swearing she’d never have that many kids in her house again.
Why can’t we have a birthday party for Jesus like that? Maybe we don’t need everyone to understand our theology and our liturgy, maybe we just let them dip a toe into the Christmas thing, even if it’s a hesitant one. When you’re with your Christian friends observing things as followers of Christ should, milk the theology thing to the core. When you’re at a fast food place and the girl who’s making minimum wage says, “Happy holidays,” maybe don’t respond with, “I SAY MERRY CHRISTMAS BECAUSE IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS!!!” and make her think you’re a lunatic.
No, you cannot spell Christmas without Christ. You want to keep Christ in Christmas? Don’t make it about you. Don’t even make it about your church. Let people in as much as they’re wanting to be, maybe they’ll come in more.
If someone only comes to your door during the holidays, don’t point out the fact that they haven’t been there since last year. If they’re coming to you at all, they’re saving you the work of reaching out to them. You probably should have done some of that since last year too.
Calm down, seriously. Your savior is not under assault because someone refuses to put his name on their front porch. Trust me on this one: if he were under assault, he could take care of himself. He made the universe, he’s not going to be upended because Santa gets more twitter mentions. You getting worked into a lather over the semantics of “Happy Holidays” just raises the defenses of those you’re talking to. It may fill you with righteous indignation, but it’s doing nothing for your cause.