There is a real war on Christmas. But it has nothing to do with Starbucks.
If you’re one of the Christians “outraged” at Starbucks’ new minimal holiday cups, can I be honest with you about something? You’ve been deceived. Yep. I’ve said it. And I will say it again. You have been deceived. More on that in a minute. But what have you been deceived with? Simply this: that a company that takes snowmen and ornaments off of their cups is throwing Jesus under the bus.
Let’s remember. We are the church, not Starbucks. So don’t expect a mainstream, non-Christian company to hold our beliefs. And besides, it’s not like they had the baby Jesus on their cups. I mean, they had snowmen, trees, ornaments, etc. These symbols might mean a lot to us, but they are not Christian symbols.
The over-hyped media about the war on Christmas is really, I think, a war on Christian intelligence. The real war on Christmas, which I’ll share in just a minute, is much darker than any coffee Starbucks serves up.
Did you know that there is not a single contradiction in the Bible? Years ago this claim was never really challenged among believers. Most people respected the Bible as God’s authoritative Word. But today, to even make such a suggestion often garners snickers from others, even among Christians. I’ve studied the Bible and been in ministry for years, and one thing I’ve heard over and over again from critics of the Bible (and unfortunately a growing number of Christians) is that it is full of contradictions.
The number of Christians who agree with this claim is really what unsettles me most. They say they believe in God, but many don’t see the Bible as authoritative, because of it’s so-called errors. Unbelievers often make the claim that the Bible was simply a book written by man, and specifically by the church as a means to “control” others under a religious code, for the purpose of solidifying power and control for money.
Here’s the thing. When I ask them to give me an example of a contradiction, every single time without exception, I’ve discovered that the problem was not the Bible itself, but rather their understanding of the Bible. 100% of the time, the issue is a lack of understanding of either the context, history, language, customs, or simply an antipathy against the text or Christianity itself.
Ever heard the old hymn, “Count Your Blessings?” I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true. In the midst of adversity oftentimes we get so laser focused on our problems or what is going on in the world with economic or political news, that we don’t stop to look at the good. In times like these it is very easy to have a sense of dissatisfaction and get depressed with all that is going on. Perhaps one of the things that we as Christians need to do, along with prayer, is to always keep things in perspective. It’s important as Christians in the midst of adversity to remember the seemingly insignificant, but yet profound blessings that God gives us each and every single day.
As the line in the old hymn goes, “Count your many blessings name them one by one…” Here are a few you can keep in mind today:
…For This Is The Whole Purpose of Man
It’s been a long but good day. I officiated the funeral of a sweet 90 year old woman, a believer in Christ. Whenever I serve at funerals I am always reminded of just how fragile and fleeting life is. I am reminded of the Psalmist who said, “The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.” (Psalm 103:15-16)
Solomon truly had it right when he summed up all of his world-renowned wisdom: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty, purpose, reason for man’s existence. And His commands are so simple, love Him and love each other. Those are the two ingredients for a life well lived, a life full of meaning.
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” – Ecclesiastes 12:13
When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing…” – Matthew 8:1-3
Matthew 8 is full of stories of Jesus healing others. I love how the chapter begins when the man with leprosy comes and kneels down in front of Jesus and asks him if he is willing to heal him. Jesus’ response is so typical of his character. I am willing.
When you read the rest of the chapter you encounter a Roman centurion whose servant was paralyzed back home, Peter’s mother-in-law who was sick in bed with a fever, and then later the text says:
“When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.”
Notice it says that Jesus healed all the sick. It struck me that there is never a verse in the New Testament that says Jesus ever turned down someone’s request to be healed. It seems that not only was Jesus willing, but he was always willing.
“When we are securely rooted in personal intimacy with the source of life, it will be possible to remain flexible without being relativistic, convinced without being rigid, willing to confront without being offensive, gentle and forgiving without being soft, and true witnesses without being manipulative.”