My Cup Runneth Over (With Controversy)


Happy Holidays!!! Or is it? We haven’t even hit Thanksgiving yet, and I’m already hearing “Jingle Bells” and “Have A Holly Jolly Christmas” on the radio. But it’s kind of hard to have a happy holiday when there’s controversy rather than snowflakes in the air. Thank you Starbucks for providing us something to discuss other than what everyone wants to find in his/her stocking on Christmas morning.

Alot of red is visible these days, but it isn’t just on the new holiday cups debuted by Starbucks. Apparently some Christians are seeing red because this design move is seen as an attack on Christmas. Huh? I must have missed that verse in Matthew 2 where the Three Wise Men stopped off at Starbucks to pick up an appropriately decorated coffee cup before heading off to the stable to visit Baby Jesus.

Christmas and the decorations which are or, more accurately right now AREN’T, on a coffee cup are not inexorably tied together. I am appalled that some Christians find that the essence of Christmas is dependent on the appearance of ornaments and snowflakes on a to go coffee cup. In fact, Starbucks probably did Christians a favor by removing those designs. The true meaning of Christmas is the simple story of the birth of a baby in Bethlehem. The first Christmas did not have reindeer prancing about, ornaments hung around the stable, etc. For Christians Jesus is the reason for the season. What better than a plain red cup, say the color of blood which would ultimately be shed per the Christian faith, to call attention to the season?

Sadly, this controversy harshly calls our attention to the fact that Christmas in our society has become a material holiday. It is all about THINGS–presents, trees, decorations, etc. If your biggest concern at Christmas is what appears on the cup holding your tall white chocolate mocha from Starbucks, then you, like the Grinch, have no idea what Christmas is really about.

Everyone’s heard the line “What would Jesus do?” I propose in this case we ask, “Would Jesus care?” My personal opinion is that the designs on a Starbucks coffee cup are not on His top ten list of things to address. He is probably more concerned about the downtrodden in society who can’t afford to go to Starbucks and buy a coffee no matter what kind of cup in which it is served.

And looking at the Bible gives additional support for the fact that the design of the cup isn’t what’s important. The beloved 23rd Psalm written by David shows that God provides because he says, “My cup runneth over.” Note that David did not take time to describe what his shepherd’s cup looks like. Tha container is irrelevant. It’s what’s contained therein that’s important, i.e., God’s love and provision.

The cup controversy, bottom line, compels the conclusion that superficiality rules. Do you really go to Starbucks for the cup or for the hot beverage that it contains? As my mother always said, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts.” This Christmas Christians need to be concerned about what the cup of our faith holds and not about the container in which the holiday comes or the cup in which a Starbucks coffee is served.