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The Watchtower Christmas Dilemma

The Watchtower Christmas Dilemma

by Andy Sjostrom

The Jehovah's Witnesses do not participate in Christmas celebrations. They point at its pagan origins, that Jesus was not born in December, that the Bible does not teach that we should celebrate the birth of Jesus, that we shall not worship anyone else than Jehovah God and the negative aspects of Christmas related materialism. The most serious consequence of Christmas celebrations is however, according to the Watchtower, that we risk losing our "good standing" before Jehovah God. This serious risk comes from that they believe that Christmas encourages idolatry, worship of Jesus Christ. Jesus is, according to the Watchtower, a created being (Michael the Archangel) and not God and therefore we must not worship Jesus. Read an article from
Watchtower 1984 (Dec 15) about this!

Why do we celebrate Christmas?
As Christians we celebrate Christmas to remind each other about the birth of our Savior. We know that Jesus most likely was born some time in the fall and that pagan, non-Christian, celebrations were held at the end of December many years ago. This pagan background has, however, nothing to do with our current Christmas celebrations. Do we consider the fact that our calendar is full of names and terms that have pagan origin, for example the names of the week days? When we celebrate Christmas today, our hearts are set at rejoicing and celebrating that Jesus was born. The Bible does not teach us to annually celebrate the birth of Jesus but it does not teach the opposite either. What we can understand when we read the Bible about the birth of Jesus Christ is that both men and angels rejoiced, celebrated, and sang!

“To the Lord”
Paul writes in his letter to the Romans (
Romans 14) that no one must judge another based on what days are celebrated or what days are considered more sacred than others. He means that as long as we do it to the Lord we may eat what we want and consider what ever days we wish as more special than others. We celebrate Christmas to the Lord and when we honor the Son, we honor the Father (John 5:23).

The Watchtower encouraged Christmas celebrations
In the beginning of the history of the organization even Jehovah's Witnesses celebrated Christmas. Watchtower 1903 (Dec 1), 1904 (Dec 1) and 1919 (Jan 15) means that it is appropriate to celebrate Christmas, that we should celebrate Christmas to show our respect for Jesus and that it is a good thing to give and receive Christmas gifts. In the Watchtower of 1919 (Jan 15) president Rutherford exclaims his gratitude for the numerous Christmas gifts that he and his associates received. Read these Watchtower issues here:

The Watchtower 1903, Dec 1 (3290)

The Watchtower 1904, Dec 1 (364)

The Watchtower 1919, Jan 15 (6381)

The Watchtower 1919, Jan 15 (6393)

Based on these articles and the article from 1984 that sharply condemns Christmas celebrations as idolatry we can identify some critical questions that define the Watchtower Christmas Dilemma. The key perspective in these questions is not whether or not men in history have made any mistakes or whether we have new light today. The key perspective is whether or not God has changed His opinion. Read on to learn about these questions!

The Watchtower Christmas Dilemma Questions

1. Does Jehovah God change His views on what is right and wrong with regards to important issues such as idolatry? (The Jehovah's Witness will reply: "No!")

2. Has the "faithful and discreet servant" faithfully taught and lead God's organization since 1919? (The Jehovah's Witness will reply: "Yes!")

3. Do those that belonged to this slave class in 1919 belong in heaven with Jehovah God, among the anointed 144 000? (The Jehovah's Witness will reply: "Yes!")

4. Jehovah God must then have approved of their life decisions and beliefs? (The Jehovah's Witness will reply: "Yes!")

5. When Jesus came back invisibly in 1914, did He find that those who were the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society faithful and wise? (The Jehovah's Witness will reply: "Yes!")

6. The Watchtower 1903 Dec 15, 1904 Dec 1 and 1919 Jan 15 say that it is appropriate to celebrate Christmas, that we should celebrate Christmas to show our respect to Jesus, and that it is a good thing to give and receive Christmas gifts. In the Watchtower 1919 Jan 15 president Rutherford exclaims his gratitude for the numerous Christmas gifts that he and his associates received. I wonder: were these men faithful and wise?

7. Did Jehovah God approve of their Christmas celebrations, that according to the organization encourage idolatry, and if He did not approve how can the slave then have been faithful since 1919 and do they belong in heaven?

8. If I celebrate Christmas just as the faithful and discreet servant (approved by Jehovah God and belonging in heaven), how can I then risk being disfellowshipped if I do the same thing that the anointed that are in heaven did?

9. Is it Jehovah God or men that have changed views in this matter? If it is not Jehovah God that has changed views; is it so that the servant was not faithful nor wise and do not belong in heaven or is it ok for me to celebrate Christmas?

10. The Jehovah's Witness might bring out
Proverbs 4:18 and start talking about "new light". The question is then whether or not this "new light" also relates to Russell's article on the same passage in which he states that old light can not be replaced by new light. New light can only add to old light, not make a truth a lie. Read the article here!

11. Finally: if I accept the consequences of current Watchtower views and believe that Jehovah God does not approve of Christmas celebrations, may I still be a member if I really believe that Jehovah God has NOT changed His view on this matter and that the those who did celebrate Christmas in the beginning of this organization's history were not anointed and do not belong among the 144 000?

A Jehovah's Witness who has given up heart, brains and mind to the organisation will most likely not even attempt answering the six last questions. A member who has started to think "independent" thought or have started to question the organization might gain more fuel in "the way out". This is the purpose of this article: to help Jehovah's Witness to see the mismatching teachings and to help people in their surroundings to ask the questions.

This article contains lines of reasoning originally found in:
Andy Sjostrom

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