It all started when Jesus took the wheel into a Starbucks drive thru line the other day.  He prophesied that holiday cups would be back way before it was announced, so naturally, we were the first people in line that morning. I was sitting shotgun, because I’m his fav, and we pulled up to the window.

“Thank you for choosing Starbucks, what can I get for you today?” 

J responded, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” 

“I’m sorry, what?”

I leaned over and yelled out of His window, “He said just a moment please.”

I turned to Jesus and got serious.

 “I really want a shot of sugar free vanilla in my coffee, but I’m trying to be good. What would you do?”

And he was all, “I’d get crazy and go for it.”

So I did.

Because, you know, that’s what Jesus would do.

 He tried to order wine, but after I reminded Him they didn’t have any, He settled for a chia tea latte instead.

 Since J paid for all of my sins, I always buy the coffee, so I pulled out my wallet and handed Him my Starbucks gold card.

The barista handed us our drinks and J stopped in his tracks.

 “There must be some mistake. You see, I prophesied that your holiday cups would be back today, but the ones we just received are plain red. Where are the snowflakes? The reindeer? SANTA’S SLEIGH?!” 

 “I’m sorry sir. These are our new holiday cups.” 

 A fury unlike any we’ve seen since the first testament came out in Him.

 He tossed His chai tea latte out the window and declared, “this is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me!”

I looked down at His nail-scared hands and gave Him a look.

“Okay—second worst thing. But it’s a pretty close second.”

J always gets a little sensitive around His birthday, but I thought He’d be happy to see Santa gone from the cups.

After all, that guy has been stealing Christmas away from Jesus for years now.

Before I could talk to Him about it, a crowd had formed outside of the Starbucks and J insisted we join in.

 They were holding signs that read, “Starbucks hates Jesus” and “Merry Christmas Starbucks” as they yelled at people in line and urged them to choose Jesus over the peppermint mocha they came for.

By now, the crowd had grown into a mob. I turned my head for only a moment, and lost J in the chaos.

“Jesus? Where are you Jesus?” I yelled over the roar of angry un-caffeinated folks.

One guy thought I was contributing and gave me a high five.

“Yeah! Where is Jesus, Starbucks?” 

“No I’m sorry, you misunderstand. I’m looking for my friend Jesus. I lost Him in this crowd and we were supposed to go to the mall after this.”

But the man couldn’t hear me, or didn’t care to, and kept on chanting.

I finally broke free from the crowd and found myself sitting just outside of it, scanning the group for J.

This wasn’t the first time I had lost Jesus to an angry mob— He was probably mid-parable or something, so I decided to just sit back, drink my coffee, and wait for Him to find me.

Just then, I noticed a man sitting by the dumpster.

He had holes in his shoes and was covered in dirt from head to toe. A hoodie and long tresses covered his face, but somehow I could see sadness in his eyes.

Something drew me to him and I watched as he scanned the area to make sure nobody was looking before searching around in the trash. He pulled out a half eaten sandwich, an apple core, and the remains of a juice box. Then he carefully laid each piece out, as if to set his table for breakfast, and bowed his head in prayer.

I pushed through the crowd and walked inside. The same barista greeted me cautiously (since our last encounter involved J throwing his drink out of the window) and I ordered a breakfast sandwich, fruit cup, oatmeal, water, and— a venti coffee in a plain red cup.

She asked my name, but instead I asked if I could borrow the pen to write it myself.

She was reluctant, so I slipped a $10 bill into the tip jar and she passed the bad boy my way.

I scribbled a note and walked back through the angry crowd. As I made my way, every person turned to me with words of distain over my purchase.

By the time I reached the man at the dumpster, all eyes were on us and the crowd fell silent.

I sat beside him and handed him the food, water, and plain red cup of coffee I had purchased.

He read the message I had written on his cup aloud:

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

Just then, he lifted his head and everyone’s jaws dropped.

It was Jesus.

I should have known He would pull a “test your morality” stunt— that’s so Him.

He looked out to the crowd and spoke:

“Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. – 1 John 2:9”

Then he gestured at me to continue. I don’t like public speaking, but it’s not like I could just tell Jesus no, so I went for it.

“You were all so consumed by hate that you didn’t notice the opportunity to truly celebrate Jesus that was right in front of your eyes.

Christmas is all around us, if you’re willing to fight for it. But fighting for it does not mean protesting cups— it means showing the world that despite their efforts to erase the true spirit of the holiday, it continues to live on through us. Jesus’s love is something that cannot be taken away— it isn’t phased by a new holiday rollout. So don’t let your love, your kindness, your spirit of Christmas, phase out with the snowflake red cups.”

Someone in the crowd started a slow clap, and before I knew it signs were on the floor and everyone was cheering. A car in the drive thru line rolled down their windows and Simple Minds, Don’t You (Forget About Me) started playing— and Jesus threw his fist in the air Judd Nelson style as He walked through the crowd and disappeared into the sun.

“Hey, you were my ride. I thought we were going to the mall!” I yelled.

And that’s the story of when Jesus made me take the bus home.