CONTROVERSY: Images featured on previous Starbucks’ holiday cups didn’t portray Christian images of Christmas, either (Photo provided)

Upon the release of their annual holiday cup, Starbucks experienced backlash from some of the Christian community, with accusations of Starbucks hating Christmas.

When the holidays approach, Starbucks swaps out their classic white cups for eye-catching, holiday-themed red cups. In years past, the cups have featured images such as snowflakes, Christmas trees, ornaments and reindeer. This year’s cup is devoid of such icons, and is simply a red ombre design.

“Starbucks has become a place of sanctuary during the holidays,” Jeffery Fields, vice president of design and content said. “We’re embracing the simplicity and quietness of it.”

Shortly after Starbucks released this year’s red cup, the Internet exploded with complaints — many of which came from the Christian community — complaining that Starbucks was refusing to celebrate Christmas because of this year’s unadorned red cup.

However, by omitting any of the classic Christmas images, Starbucks might be making their holiday cups more Christian-friendly than they, and many others, realize.

While Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, many of its roots and icons stem from pagan rituals.

The Bible doesn’t give much reference as to when Jesus was born, and his birth wasn’t widely celebrated until the fourth century, according to historian Stephen Nissenbaum.

The December date for Christmas falls near many pagan, mid-winter holidays.

In addition, the images that are associated with Christmas are hardly Christian themes at all. In fact, the cutting of trees to bring into the home preceded Jesus’s birth.

Jeremiah 10:2-4 says, “Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.”

And while Santa is said to derive from the great Saint Nicholas, the myth of his flying reindeer might give a nod to Norse and Germanic mythology, in which Thor is said to fly through the sky in a sleigh pulled by goats.

Many of the traditions that Christians celebrate in honor of Jesus’ birth aren’t truly Christian after all. Starbucks, with their “controversial” red cup, is actually even less guilty of committing a crime against Christians, if their plain cup is viewed in that light.the Christmas season must be remembered, and the reason most definitely is not dependent upon what is printed on a red coffee cup.

The Huntingtonian editorial is written by the staff. It reflects the viewpoint of the editors only and does not necessarily represent the viewpoint of Huntington University.