Apparently Starbucks is now featuring plain “red cups” to serve beverages during the “holiday” season and this is causing quite a stir among “outraged Christians.” In the past this coffee house chain would put little snowflakes or wreaths on their “holiday” cups; but this year there are no symbols, just red cups. Several so-called “Christian” groups have been up in arms over this, claiming it is an “attack on Christmas.” One more instance in which Christianity and religion in general is being persecuted in this country. Personally I find this argument to be ludicrous, at best. For the life of me I can't imagine how a Starbuck’s coffee cup with a picture of “Frosty the Snow Man” honors and respects the birthday of Jesus Christ.
Yesterday I was watching a TV news story about all the nonsensical ranting over those red cups at Starbuck’s. When the story ended a commercial came on announcing with great glee that this year the holiday shopping season will be extended - a longer season with way more hours to shop. In fact, the infamous “Black Friday” is now going to last throughout the remainder of November and go right up to December 25th.
In the past, “BlackFriday,” the day after Thanksgiving in America, was the biggest shopping day of the year. Hordes of people would literally camp outside the big retail stores like Walmart so that they could be first through the doors when the store opened and take advantage of all the huge “holiday” bargains offered on that day, often trampling over one another as they pressed through the lines so that they could get at all those big-screen TVs with prices “slashed” for the season.
But this year “Black Friday” will not be limited to that one single day. This year, it’s going to last for weeks. All I have to do is fire up my computer and go “online” and I will be able to get the same incredible “Black Friday” prices right up until Christmas Day.
Now, if you ask me, if you want to feel outrage over an attack on Christmas, you just might want to look at all the extended Christmas “blowout bargains” to see where Christmas is really being attacked. Corporate America is celebrating the “Christmas” holiday by offering us more and more opportunities to indulge in mindless consumption.
Jesus preached a gospel of “simplicity of life.” He taught his followers to enjoy the lilies of the field and relish the birds of the air rather than worrying about how many things they might store up and accumulate in life. He taught his followers that we find peace when we share what we have rather than horde it for ourselves. The celebration of the birth of Jesus by indulging in a holiday shopping frenzy is an affront to everything Jesus believed in and an attack on those who follow in his “way.”
The psychologist Eric Fromm once offered this definition of greed:
Greed is the bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort
to satisfy a need without ever reaching satisfaction.
As I see it, endless weeks of unlimited shopping has the potential of making this holiday time into a season of endless greed, and so when it comes to “Christmas,” I’ll take red cups over Black Friday any day.