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Putting Christ in Christmas begins with me — not coffee

People. Just stop. There is no reason for the brew-haha surrounding the new Starbucks cup. This month, my favorite coffee giant introduced their holiday cups. They are simple, just red and green with the mermaid logo. And that simplicity gave a bully a pulpit, a chance to stir up a little controversy if you will. Joshua Feuerstein, a former television and radio evangelist with more than 1.8 million followers on Facebook, took to his platform to comment on the new cups.

“Starbucks removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus,” he wrote, asking followers to use the hashtag #MerryChristmasStarbucks and to ask baristas to write “Merry Christmas” on their cups instead of their names.

A friend wanted to know if other Christians really thought this might be true. No, this Christian does not. But I will tell you who IS taking Christ out of Christmas: Joshua Feuerstein.

Joshua has forgotten what Christmas is about. Christmas is not about wrapping and gifts and overspending. It is not about Santa and snowmen and parties. It is not about a three pump decaf no whip grande white peppermint mocha. And Christmas is most certainly not about posting snarky messages and asking others to be rude on your behalf.

Christmas is about love, y’all. It’s about Christ’s love for you. And it’s about your ability to love others as Christ loves you. #GodIsLove, Joshua.

Do you know the story of Saint Nicholas? He was born into a wealthy Turkish family in the fourth century. He was a Godly man, a bishop. He used his inheritance to help the needy, anonymously donating gold to single mothers and hungry children, the sick and the desperate. His work mirrored the work of the Christ he served, lifting up the broken-hearted, bringing hope to the hopeless. Later, theologian Martin Luther worked to remind Christians that Christ was the real gift-giver, not Santa Claus. Christ came to us as an innocent, a baby that grew into a teacher and healer. A man whose entire life was a demonstration of God’s love for us, a map to faith, of acceptance of God’s love and our salvation.

The Rev. Adam Hamilton breaks it down another way. Christmas is about being Christ in the world, putting the needs of others ahead of yourself. It’s about being a blessing to others. Christmas is servant leadership, Christmas is kindness and joy and “all the other intangibles.”

“You are not alone,” Hamilton reminds us. “(Christ) knows your names and stories and he came to walk among us to show us the way, and the truth and the life.”

There. That was easy. Christmas is about love. Christmas is about kindness.

But even though we know it, Christians don’t always practice what is preached. Now that I am pointing fingers, I’ll tell you who else it taking Christ out of Christmas.

Me. Every time I fail to show someone in need my love for them. Me. Every time I don’t teach my children to give selflessly. Me. Every time I decide to spend more on gifts my children don’t need than I spend on food for hungry children. Me. When I want a pair of $450 Frye boots but gripe about having to buy another fundraising shirt for Little Son’s school. Me. Every time I spend $5 on a cup of Starbucks coffee in a plain red cup but don’t feel like I have any money to donate to the homeless guy sitting on the corner.

Speaking of cups, I searched the almighty internet, as well as my fuzzy memory. I could not find a past example of a Starbucks cup with the word “Christmas” on it, nor did I find any crosses or other traditional Christian images. I did find, however, a snowman, a dog and some ornaments. None of which are Christian Christmas symbols. So, let’s be clear. Starbucks did NOT take Christ out of Christmas because they never put him in there to begin with.

It is really up to me to put Christ in Christmas and in all things. This is my opportunity to help myself, my children and other people find the real meaning of Christmas. My chance to show others in a tangible way the love and joy of Jesus Christ, and to be the body for those in need.

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