That Starbucks Cup, Well It's Covered In Christmas After All.
Last Christmas our family landed on one of the most prestigious lists known to man: The Tracey Outlaw Christmas Card List. I'm still not entirely sure how you get on the list, I only know I've suffered anxiety issues this Christmas season wondering if it's possible to be evicted from it once you get on. My relief came yesterday when Tracey's card arrived in the mail.
Now, I don't want to discourage anyone else who sends Christmas cards - we all put our own hearts and personal touches into them. Christmas cards are the perfect application for "it's the thought that counts." But the Tracey Outlaw Christmas card is more than a thought and much more than a card; it's an event. The design and publishing and release date and the trip to the post office in a Brinks truck to mail them all out, JK Rowling has an easier time getting Harry Potter books in everyone's hands.
Yet, event though it is an event, Tracey knows how to use it to send a message that counts. Tracey took on a new role with Starbucks this year. He had to move to Seattle and all but move in with Starbucks owner Howard Schultz. Or at least share the same office building. My point is Tracey is now a significant part of the Starbucks team, so I knew this year's card would have a Venti-sized, caffeine-filled message. (Isn't this my second post this week with a Starbucks theme. You owe me big time Outlaw).
There is a touch of irony in this Christmas card. You may recall at the beginning of this Christmas season Starbucks took some heat for waging a perceived war on Christmas. Every year Starbucks releases a unique red cup for the holiday season. This year's was plain red. For about 25 minutes on or about the morning of December 1st, social media was on fire with suggestions the omission of manger scenes and shepherds, and dare I say Jesus himself on the red cup, was a sure sign Starbucks was ready to stake to a cross any Christian who dared walked through their doors. Fortunately, that fire lacked oxygen and by lunch Christians and Atheists and all others alike were enjoying an afternoon cup of coffee together. In plain red cups.
So without further ado, I'll let you read this year's version of the Tracey Outlaw Christmas card:
I love that message. Simplify. It's a challenging time of the year to hear it, though, isn't it? Is there another month of the year apart from December more directly connected to chaos and excess than simplicity? With nothing but good intentions, we often manage to turn our Christmas celebrations into expressions that completely contradict what God wanted to express this day.
God wants Christmas to be the day we all find a place of sanctuary. Not just for the holidays, but for eternity. I know God doesn't often look like a sanctuary. With the constant public debates over who God does and doesn't approve of, with the constant tangled up foot races to one side or another of the worldly imagined wars on Christmas, God often looks like our Christmas celebrations. He looks frazzled and lost and frankly under the influence of 8 plain red cups too many from his local Starbucks.
But that's what we make of God. What God made of God was a little baby. He came to us in the quietness of a stable in the simplest version man will ever experience of man. If you escape just for a moment to that manger, you will feel sanctuary. No matter what the world wants to make God look like, he will always feel like a sanctuary.
So isn't it ironic. As we rapidly approach Christmas day, the story I've found on my own plain red Starbucks cup is very much THE Christmas story.
This Christmas season, in our time together with family and friends, or in the midst of the pain we feel from the absence of them, may we find just a moment of quiet and simplicity and feel the sanctuary God gifted us with this very day.
To read previous posts from this Christmas 2015 series, click below: