The New Has Come

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In the two and a half months that I gave up writing, I chose to really focus on figuring out who I want to be and how I was going to get to that. I worked on being a good, responsible mom to my puppy [Winnie]. My boyfriend [Jeremiah] and I spent time getting closer through fun times and hard questions. I went on an overwhelming yet wonderful adventure traveling to four states I had never been to. I met people who will undoubtedly be my family one day and they treated me, essentially a stranger, with more love and kindness than I could have imagined. I grew to appreciate my family more. I learned even more of what it means to be a true friend. I claimed my faith and have begun to accept God and the grace he so freely gives.

So my break was great, but I couldn’t help, but miss the community here and the voice that I have. I had all of these words and ideas all jumbled up in my head, but had nowhere to put them. I am also so humbled by the response that my last post received. I was sad to go, but I am in a better place now, so I am choosing to come back and be heard.

I heard a song on the radio last night called Let It Fade by Jeremy Camp. As I listened, I just felt this sense of peace. I could finally breathe realizing that everyone makes mistakes, everyone loses their way, everyone falls down. I wasn’t the first or only person to screw up royally and feel that there is no way back. In the song, he asks some questions:

Have you helped yourself to everything that’s empty?
Have you been looking for a place where you belong?
Have you been holding on to what this world has offered?
Have you been giving in to all these masquerades?

The answer to all of them was yes. At first, I was thinking wow… I can’t believe all of this describes me… how could I have gone so wrong? But then he goes on to say:

You can rest, you will find rest.
Let this old life crumble, let it fade.
Let this new life offered be your saving grace.

I did have a way out. I don’t have to be defined by the mistakes and choices I have made in the past. I am not chained down by them anymore. They happened, but I am washed clean. God gives grace, so we can move on and start again. We are going to mess up. I am going to mess up, but that fact is inevitable, so I am just going to give every day my best shot and ask forgiveness when it is necessary, but keep going and not let mistakes and failures hold me back. 

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.
-2 Corinthians 5:17

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Red Cup Ridiculousness

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For the past week, every time I would log into Facebook, I would see all of these images of Starbucks cups and all of this nonsense about how offensive they are toward Christian people. To be honest, I have read a few memes, some images, an article or two, and watched a CNN video, but I don’t really understand what the big deal is.

I didn’t really want to join in on the nonsense of the whole thing, but then I decided this would be a good opportunity to express my thoughts about Christmas and why not incorporate this red cup phenomenon.

My understanding is that some Christians are upset that Starbucks changed their cups from having designs on them to being plain red and somehow this change means Starbucks is against Christmas. Ummm what?!

I am a Christian and I believe that the point of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. That’s it, nothing more and nothing less. The trees, the cute animals, the decorations, the presents, the red and green… that is all extra stuff that adds to the season of celebrating Christ, but that is not what Christmas is about.

So by Starbucks taking the ornaments, reindeer, and snowmen off of their cups is not an act against celebrating Christmas. Those images are winter images, they don’t define Christmas. There was never a baby Jesus or nativity scene or Merry Christmas on the cups, so why are so many so upset? Last time I checked, red was still a holiday color… it isn’t like they changed their cups to black, but even if they did, who cares? Starbucks does not define the season or the holiday.

In a CNN video that I watched, a man was upset, because Starbucks employees are not allowed to say Merry Christmas. This is not uncommon; many places including public schools, are not allowed to say that phrase. It has become Happy Holidays, but why does this have to destroy your season? They can’t ban YOU from saying anything, so why not just respond with Merry Christmas and a smile. You get to choose how you react to these changes.

Yes, 70% of people in America identify as Christians and our country was founded on Christian beliefs, but we also pride ourselves in allowing freedom of religion. People have the right not to celebrate Christmas and we cannot force them to, but we can still show love throughout the season and not let the actions of companies and other people ruin the example that Christ set. We celebrate the birth of Jesus, who was all about showing grace and love toward all people, including ourselves, who don’t deserve it, so why can we not show that same love and grace toward Starbucks employees and everyone else who disagrees with us?

I think this all comes down to what Christmas really means to you. Is your Christmas defined by the design of a coffee cup? Is your Christmas defined by the words someone uses to greet you? Or is your Christmas defined by an amazing savior’s birth?

❤ a girl