Honestly, I didn’t even notice. Well, not really. I mean, when I see the Starbucks red cups come out in November, it really only means one thing to me; peppermint mochas. I didn’t notice what was missing, I just thought they were going for a minimalist flat design that is all the rage.

Speaking of rage…

“Do we really need one more blog post on Cupgate (copyright Corby Stephens 2015)?” I didn’t read an entire article on either side. There’s no need. When you see the words, “Starbucks is anti-Christmas” on one Facebook post followed by, “I’m a Christian and I think other Christians are poo-poo heads,” do you really need to read any farther? I’m ashamed of my own tribe on both sides of the issue right now.

However, there was something oddly familiar about all this talk of what’s on the outside of the cup. I couldn’t let it go. Then it came to me.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. – Matthew 23:25-26

The, shall we say, overly-observant people in Jesus’ culture made a big deal about washing ones dishes in particular ways so as to be consdiered clean in God’s eyes, at least according to their standards of what God could consdier clean. Their thinking suggested that if the cup was clean, the food would be passed to the eater in a clean state, and they would remain clean. If the dishes weren’t cleansed properly, the one who ate off of said dishes would become unclean.

Is this sounding at all familiar in light of Cupgate (see above copyright)? Since there are no vestiges of anything wintery, and therefore Christmassy, Starbucks is now (more) unclean? (Its worth mentioning that people in the Souther Hemispheer have never had a white Christmas. How are they even saved?)

On the other end of this, people objecting to those objecting to Starbucks minimalist design are revealing the uncleanness that is inside of them. The name-calling, the impatience, the borderline abuse of one’s brothers and sisters, is just as ignorant as the brothers and sisters they are nearly abusing. The anti-Starbucks people didn’t make all of this come out of them; it was already in them, ready to come out with the right prompting.

Is Christmas already ruined for all concerned? Is God, yet again, pounding His head on the corner of His throne? No, in both cases. Christmas is about Jesus, not cups. God’s forehead is dent-free because our current poo-poo-headedness was paid for on the cross and left in the grave.

Instead of getting all riled up by any of this, let us examine our “cups” as it were.

  • Are we so focused on the outside of the cup (the trappings of Christmas and our concept of what it should look like) that we miss the point like the Pharisees did?
  • Are we so easily unsettled by others (those overly focused on the outside of the cup) that our cups tip and runneth over with bile that spills all over the Internet?

Jesus’ prescription for all of us (myself especially, since I’m putting this out there) is the same. “First cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.” How? “If we are already a Christian, isn’t Jesus already inside of us and we are clean, inside and out?” Yes. No. Both. From an eternal perspective, yes. From a right this second perspective, no. Otherwise, Jesus wouldn’t have said this.

But I digress. The answer the “how” question, is the Holy Spirit. John 7:37-39 is one of the places He is referred to as water. In fact, Jesus said, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” The errosive force of a Holy-Spirit river will surely clean away any crud on the inside and outside of a heart with caked on negativity, and leave it clean. All of us need to take a step back and repent. We need to aks God to show us where the spots (or dried on boogers) are in and on our cups, and hose them off with His Spirit.

In short, the cup we need to be concerned with is the cup of our hearts, not to cup in our hands (or not, as the case may be). As for the red cup, whatever. Grande pepermint mocha, if you please.