Friday, November 20, 2015

The Search for Christian Coffee

Let's get right to the point this time. When scripture gives us "do nots", it's usually because we have a strong tendency to do exactly those things and we're a bit slow to recognize them as harmful. Well, me anyway, and "a bit" is a bit of an understatement. So for only my sake, let's look at this one:  "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." 

The holidays provide plenty of opportunity to judge each other by exactly these standards. Most gatherings will include some unspoken disapproval of the food, the gifts, the decor or the people. If those topics don't supply enough rocks to throw, there's always Starbucks. This week, I found myself thinking about their de-Christmassed cups with an unsettled feeling in my gut. Actually that feeling was a latte double shot on an empty stomach, a must if you were up too late the night before and want to do it again for the sake of a really good dinner on the company's bill. And so the holiday spirit is upon us.

The reality  of that spirit is what's pointed out in the second part of our scripture. Just like Christ was the real gift of the holidays that preceded him, the people we love are the real gift of our current holidays. It even says it's his grace expressed through our gifts of service. So give your friends and family a break, and even your enemy if you get the chance. Life is a lot more gratifying when you're focused on enjoying the people around you more than the trappings of the holiday that twisted your arm into seeing them again. And, just like Christ, if we only pay special attention to them during the holidays, we're missing a lot.

Give Starbucks and their ilk a break, too. Christ specified he didn't come to judge the world. If you need a corporation or government or anyone else to validate your faith, I would encourage you to reevaluate it over a generically festive cup of mint mocha anything. I'll join you.

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