The red cups are here! Which, of course, means that your local coffee joint is getting into the Christmas spirit.
Well, maybe not.
This year's Starbucks' "holiday" cups are a very plain red with just the corporate logo. Some are complaining that this is an effort by Starbucks, and others, to cleanse all symbols and reminders of Christmas from our culture. The cups used to have stars, ornaments and other Christmas symbols on them and that helped people to remember that it was Christmas...and don't forget Thanksgiving. Is this the Grinch stealing Christmas and thereby removing anything related to Christianity from society?
Could be. But it doesn't matter. That's not their job. It's ours!
Jesus didn't entrust the message of hope, joy & good tidings to businesses. He didn't send out the government (which shall be upon his shoulders...sorry, got distracted) to help us remember that He was born in a manger. He sent out the people that decided to follow Him. He sent the ones that would later bear his name as a descriptor for how they acted and treated other people. But He didn't send them or us alone. Christ's spirit dwells richly in us and we are part of God's family.
So when you go anywhere, you are the "cup."
What do people notice about you? Are they reminded that God didn't stay far away, but rather came to be one of us? Can they feel the hope emanating from you enough to perhaps see a possible different future for themselves?
It goes back to the word, "Christmas." Do you know where we got it? When early followers of Christ gathered for prayers, singing and teaching, the leader, priest or shepherd-type person in charge would end things by dismissing everyone to go back out into their lives. His words at that moment were called the misse. It's Latin for dismiss. It's where we get the word missile. Later, it was anglicised to be known as "mass" and it began to refer to the whole time people gathered for prayers, singing communion, etc. but it really meant the "sending back out" after taking a break from their lives. The mass on the night before the day we celebrate Jesus' birth was called...Christ's mass. Get it?
Doesn't it kind of feel like we have taken a permanent break from being sent out? Like we're hibernating...waiting for God to do something? Could it be that you need to be sent back out?
I challenge each of you to go to your jobs, your schools, into your relationships, your play time, your celebrations and remember...that you are the "cup." You are taking the message and the spirit of Christmas everywhere you go. So, unwrap yourself and get out there! Shine like a star in the East...or wherever you're from!
Merry Christmas. You are dismissed.