The Red Cup

It was going to be a four to five hour wait for a state inspection at the auto shop, but these things have to get done. Settling down in the waiting room, I was glad that I had a cup of coffee (I’m a very bad pregnant woman… It was only half caff) to fortify myself. A former Starbucks employee and a lover of that chestnut praline latte, my coffee of choice was naturally from that suddenly infamous establishment.

Another woman was sitting in the waiting room, paging through a magazine. When I sat down, she made an audible scoffing sound. 

“Merry Christmas,” she said snidely, nodding to my red cup.

A whirlwind of snarky things to say ran through my head. “How is this cup not festive?” “Do you really think this is taking Christ out of Christmas?” “Are you so unhappy?” “Is your faith so small?”

But this real world interaction, separate from all the posts on social media, really struck me in an odd way.

Here I was, with another Christian woman, and we were at odds. Not for theological reasons, but because of a stupid cup! With so many things to fraction the body of believers, why are we letting something so trivial drive a wedge between us?

Everyone is pretty fed up with the whole “Starbucks red cup controversy.” I’ll be honest though, I’m a little bit more fed up with the Christians who say things like, “For the record, I haven’t actually seen any Christians say this. At least not any of MY friends.” Or, and I’m guilty of this one, “Come on, what ridiculousness! I’m a Christian and I’m not offended!”

As I replayed some of these statements in my head, I was reminded of the parable Jesus told of the Pharisee and the tax collector who went into the temple to pray. The Pharisee says, “Look, God (and men), I’m not like that tax collector! Thank you that you made me one of the good ones.” 

And I’ve been very guilty of doing the same in this instance. Because I’m a smart Christian. I’m a Christian who isn’t offended by every little thing. I’m so much more sophisticated and aware, not like those Christians who are upset by something small. Look at me!

The truth is that, though there may not be a war on Christmas, there most certainly is a spiritual battle at work. A house divided against itself cannot stand and the enemy of our souls is intent on pulling us apart. To my shame, a red cup made me look at the lady beside me as an idiotic enemy, despite the fact that she turned out to be super nice and we had a wonderful conversation about prayer. 

So my dear fellow believers, whether you’re looking at this cup (which I admit is not my favourite design that Starbucks has released. I was partial to the 2014 version, though that still had nothing to do with Christ) as a threat to your Lord and decide to stop drinking Starbucks, or you feel as I do that it’s just a cup, let us deal with each other in love and grace. Do not let this drive a wedge between us! Instead look at this holiday season as a time of ministry. Share the love of Christ, not our own hurtful judgement and condemnation. Speak truth to one another in love. Let this Christmas be more about the overflowing, boundless blessings of Christ and less about a cup of coffee that will run dry.  

Merry…. Thanksgiving. I just can’t say “Merry Christmas” in November.


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