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Oh, my, has Starbucks fallen from grace? As many Christians have birthed a campaign to boycott the largest, most successful coffeehouse in the world, it appears they have, at least for the 2015 holiday season.

Towards the end of October Starbucks announced a new design for their holiday coffee cups; The Company’s traditional green logo set against a canvas of Christmassy red. Yes, it is a departure from the ornamental cups used by the company in years prior, but in fairness, cups of the past have not used art depicting religious themes during the holidays. You’ll find snowflakes, snowmen, Christmas stockings and of course, Santa; but no manger scenes, angels, stars of Bethlehem, Wise Men or other such ideas depicting the birth of Jesus.

Nonetheless, many Christians are up in arms, declaring a holy war on Starbucks. Those with ruffled feathers contend the new design to be an all-out assault on Christmas with a much more sinister plot of persecuting Christians, some say. Really? With 87% of America’s 320,090,857 populations claiming to be Christians [1], such would be commercial suicide – a trigger the powers that be wouldn’t want to pull.

Setting those facts aside; Is the example Jesus set one of boycotts and protest marches? Would he mount a million man march on Starbucks headquarters in Seattle – of course not. In fact, the biblical example I see would be quite to the contrary. As the apostles walked the dusty streets of the Middle East, social circumstances were not ideal. Talk about anti-Christian sentiment and persecution – it was everywhere; in every city, every town, on every street, around every corner and on every corner – you wouldn’t have to look for it, it was looking for you. The apostles response, however, was not to take up arms, form a sit-in, or a picket line, but to live godly regardless of what the godless do.

1 Peter 3:9 tells us, “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” In Romans 12:17 we read, “Repay no one evil for evil but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.” Then too, Romans 12:21 reminds, “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good “ (NLT). This is the Christians response, or at least should be.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating the follower of Jesus to roll over and play dead in the face of assaults on our faith. But don’t allow something such as the absence of “Merry Christmas” being printed on a coffee cup allow you to become at odds with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Truly, this is the goal of the enemy we should see. It’s not about Starbucks, it’s not even about being a Grinch and stealing Christmas from believers. It’s about pitting brothers against sisters, sons against fathers, and mothers against daughters. It’s about breaking up homes, destroying relationships and splitting churches. Divide and conquer – a most effective weapon, but successful only if we fall to see the enemies grander scheme and allow it to happen.

Whether or not you have a cup of Starbucks is up to you, it’s a little too pricey for my taste, but I won’t find fault if I see your car in the parking lot as I drive by with my home brew in the cup holder. Thinking honestly, though. As those withdrawals grow more powerful for the millions of caffeine addicts who frequent Starbucks, I suspect a truce to be called no later than Thanksgiving. I mean, how on earth will those Black Friday shoppers make it through the wee hours of Friday morning without falling asleep and losing their place in line at Best Buy. You can bet someone will be shuttling in a Chestnut Praline Latte, or a steaming hot Peppermint Mocha – if not shuttling, then smuggling. Either way, getting that double shot of caffeine may well mean saving big bucks, hundreds of dollars for some. And when it comes to money, even the hardliners start to crumble. Might I suggest a Keurig beneath the tree this year?


[1] Percentage and population numbers based on reports found at ABC News and U.S. News & World Reports.