Friday, November 13, 2015

A Conversational Christmas With Starbucks

While I am poking fun at the current brew-haha over the once-sacred Starbucks Christmas cup, we live in a difficult tension between the celebrated magnificence of God born among us, and the “merchandization” of the same. This ain’t easy, folks. Maybe it’s not supposed to be.

I like dressing up the outside and inside of my house with lights and ornaments, because it’s not only fun, it makes it easier to talk about what we’re celebrating. Christmas decorations have given me lots of opportunities to talk with people about God’s joy in blessing us with unfathomable favor. If you’ve ever walked into someone’s home and verbally marveled over a standout piece of art, furniture or finery you’d never seen before – “Wow! That’s cool!” – then you know what I mean. It begs conversation, and I like that. I have great and happy news to share. “God is with us! God is not finding fault with us! God is here to love us to life!” Yeah, the heralding angels and me. Same story.

So when my wife and I, hunting for our annual Christmas tree ornament, walked into Macy’s last December and found it void of typical decoration, we were bewildered. “What’s happened?” I asked an employee. “Well, corporate decided to be more inclusive this year, and remove anything Christmas related. We’re not too happy about it,” she said. “What are we going to talk about then?” I asked. “One of the big reasons I get to have happy conversations with people about Jesus this time of year is gone,” I said. “Yeah,” she replied. “I’m going to miss that, too.”

Maybe you’re saying that my conversational entry points have been decorated and made possible by the evils of materialism and covetousness that have actually covered over the profound message of Christmas. Okay. You’ve got me there. But I still miss these easy conversations, and see them increasingly disappearing. Am I supposed to be okay with that? I’m not. Will they vanish altogether? I hope not.

“Happy Thanksgiving.” “Merry Christmas.”

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