Choose Your Battles Wisely


Last Thursday I spent time with some students at a local high school as part of the ISCF club, a faith-based lunchtime program I’ve helped run there for years. We often have a short devotional, and on that day I shared how Christians need to avoid two extremes: being contentious about everything and being indifferent about everything. Jude 1:3 was my text (italics mine):

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

There is a sense in which Christians need to stand up for the truth, and times when it is necessary to do so. Part of the challenge of being a faithful follower of Christ is discerning which battles to fight and which to pass over. It’s not easy, but we must do it to the best of our abilities.

Little did I know a perfect example of this was just around the corner.

Coffee Cups and Christ Haters

As you probably have heard by now, Starbucks has released its version of this year’s Christmas themed coffee cup: a sleek but plain design that is simply red. Unlike other years, this design contains no snowflakes, snowmen, or any other winter imagery. Nope, just red.

Shockingly, some Christians have taken this to be an assault on Christmas, as this video demonstrates. The charge is that Starbucks is trying to take Christ out of Christmas, and therefore believers should either boycott the store or do such childish things as tell the barista your name is “Merry Christmas” so that they will write it on the cup.

Wow. What are we in, like grade 3 here?

After hearing about this I took a day to think it over before saying anything about it. I figured I shouldn’t be too hasty in my reaction. There are perhaps hundreds of responses to this video already floating around the internet, and I don’t think I’ll say much of anything new. But for what it’s worth, here are a few thoughts floating around in my brain.

  1. Starbucks is not a Christian company. Why would we expect them to view Christmas the way Christians do?
  2. Starbucks serves coffee. No one goes there to grow in the Lord. They go to get coffee.
  3. What exactly are we accomplishing by getting them to write “Merry Christmas” on the cup? Do we think we are going to win even a single person to Christ this way?
  4. The previous Christmas cup designs weren’t explicitly Christian either. Just things like snowflakes. It’s not as if they removed a manger scene or something.
  5. My guess is that the fella who made the video will eventually come to think it was a bad idea.
  6. Why the heck am I spending time even thinking about this?

In Conclusion

The sooner this whole thing blows over, the better. It’s stupid and pointless and is distracting us from the things that really matter. As Christians, we have battles worth fighting. We have a mission from our Lord Jesus to be actively engaged with. And this whole thing is nothing but a distraction from it.

With that in mind, I’ll go back to planning our Bible study for Junior High youth group tonight. We’ll have about a dozen kids coming to learn about God’s holiness, and what that means for them. Why don’t you take 15 seconds to pray that God would move in power in these young people’s lives? At least then this article won’t have been an entire waste of time.

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