Part Four: Why does the Watchtower kick out Jehovah's Witnesses who celebrate Christmas?

This message will take the form of a simulated discussion between a Jehovah's Witness named Joe and a Christian named Chris.

Chris: Joe, the Watchtower does not want their followers to honor the birth of Christ. Can you tell me why?

Joe: Chris, the Watchtower says in the Dec. 15, 1994 issue, "If you are now an adult, have you ever felt embarrassed when, in your presence, people showed photographs of you as a baby? True, such pictures remind your parents of their joy at your birth. But now that you have an identity of your own, do you not usually prefer others to see you as your are? In a similar vein, think how disrespectful it is toward Christ Jesus when those who claim to be his followers become so engrossed each year in the pagan traditions of Christmas and in honoring an infant that they fail to honor him as King."

Chris: That is a serious charge! The Watchtower seems to imply that one cannot honor the birth of Christ as well as honor Jesus as King. Yet Christians around the world honor Jesus both for his birth and for being King. Is it really a serious matter for a Jehovah's Witnesses to choose to celebrate Christmas?

Joe: The Watchtower Dec. 15, 1984 says that the most serious danger of celebrating Christmas is that it could lead to losing God's favor and we as Jehovah's Witnesses realize that to celebrate Christmas would mean being brought before a judicial committee and then kicked out.

Chris: When did celebrating Christmas become such a serious matter that one could lose God's favor and thus lose eternal life?

Joe: Well the Watchtower says that God never intended that Christians should celebrate the birth of His Son. In their eyes it has always been wrong.

Chris: Didn't the Watchtower celebrate Christmas many years ago?

Joe: Yes. When the Watchtower was first formed, the founder Charles T. Russell and the early Jehovah's Witnesses all celebrated Christmas.

Chris: Was the Watchtower required to stop celebrating Christmas before Jehovah God approved of them?

Joe: No. The Watchtower still celebrated Christmas for many years after Jesus picked them in 1919 as the only organization on earth that was worthy of being the faithful slave.

Chris: Doesn't that sound hypocritical? The Watchtower condemns others for celebrating Christ's birth yet they say that they found God's favor at the time when they were still celebrating Christmas. If Jehovah did not condemn them then, why would his standards change now?

Joe: I don't think Jehovah's standards changed.

Chris: Then the Watchtower's standards changed. When the Watchtower celebrated Christmas did they celebrate in a different way then we do today?

Joe: No, they celebrated Christmas in much the same way that Christians celebrate today. They gave gifts, had Christmas decorations, sang Christmas carols. The Watchtower even agreed with Christendom that although Dec. 25 was not the day that Jesus was born, it most likely was the date of conception, and it was as good a day as any to join in with the rest of the world to celebrate his birth.

Chris: What changed their minds about Christmas?

Joe: Sometime after Rutherford became president he decided that too much emphasis was put on Jesus and not enough on Jehovah and the kingdom. He outlawed Christmas saying that it was a pagan celebration.

Chris: Did he ban everything that had pagan roots like the Roman calender, wedding anniversaries and wedding rings?

Joe: No he allowed those things. They are no longer looked on as pagan today so they are okay.

Chris: But Joe, no one worships the sun in the sky on Dec. 25 anymore. Why did Rutherford still ban Christmas?

Joe: Rutherford felt that at Christmas time, people gave honor and worship to Jesus and this took away from the worship of Jehovah.

Chris: What does the Bible say about how the Son is to be honored? Look at John 5:23.

Joe: It says "in order that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He that does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him."

Chris: So we are to honor the Son just as we honor the Father. Giving honor to Jesus at any time of year does not take away from honoring the Father. In fact John 5:23 says that giving honor to Jesus honors the Father.

Joe: I've never seen that verse before.

Go back to Part One: Is Christmas pagan?

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