Jehovah`s Witness/Christmas,A Question For You
Do you a Baptist Born-Again celebrate the Christmas Holiday as Roman Caholics do, or do you avoid this holiday because its not part of your Baptist beliefs,and so it does differ from the Roman Catholic Church? And if so, what scriptural evidence do you have for doing so? I ask cause,a Roman Cahthoic priest told me,"If it was not for her(The Catholic Church)no other religion today would be celebrating this holy holiday in the first place!We were the ones who introduced this holiday through the Roman Catholic Tradition.So every other religion owes Her The Church for this." Thank you sir and look forward to your reply.
Hello Mike, and thanks for writing. I assume that the wording of this question, is in regards to my answer about something not necessarily being truth OR error, just because the Catholic Church teaches it. If that is the case, I fail to see here how your question really ties in to my answer. Maybe you aren't connecting it to my answer...either way, I will be happy to address your question.
I believe that the issue of whether or not to honor Christ's birth this time of year, is a matter of personal conviction. There are extremes on both sides. Some (like the JWs) are sitting in judgment on a person who DOES choose to honor the birth of Jesus Christ this time of year, and saying they aren't real Christians if they do, while others believe that if you DON'T celebrate Christmas, then you don't really love Jesus either. BOTH sides are completely wrong and unscriptural. It seems that the WT uses this as just another form of control over their members, but nobody seems to be following the SCRIPTURAL principle that we are given on this issue, which is this....
"Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day [alike]. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
He that regardeth the day, regardeth [it] unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard [it]. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself."
Now, this verse CLEARLY says that it is up to a person's OWN conscience before God, if they choose to regard a certain day to the Lord, or not. It also asks "WHO ARE WE TO JUDGE?" someone else, for their decision on such matters. I have seen several JWs here make the statement that "no true Christian would celebrate Christmas". But as the Bible says, they have NO business making that judgment. It isn't theirs to make. This verse allows a "true Christian" to regard any day "to the Lord" that they wish.
Now, here is what the verse is teaching....If a man/woman chooses to honor a particular day, and set that day aside to personally give honor to the Lord Jesus Christ, then he is NOT to be judged for doing so, nor is his Christianity to be called into question. On the other hand, if a person chooses NOT to regard any day in particular, but treats all days the same, they too are NOT to be judged for their decision, nor is their Christianity to be called into question.
So, do we honor the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas time? That is up to the person.
Now, let's distinguish between fact and opinion for a moment. Here are some things we can put in the "fact" column:
1. Jesus Christ was very likely not born on December 25th. The normal time of year given for His birth (no one knows for sure), is around the end of September or the first of October. If this is the case, then one COULD trace His CONCEPTION to around the time of December 25th, or somewhere in that time frame.
2. There is no command TO celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, in the Scriptures.
3. Most of today's Christmas celebration has nothing to do with God, and has become more about greed and commercialism, than anything else.
Let's deal with #3 first of all....That reason has nothing to do with anything. Just because many people have forgotten what the real significance of Christ's birth is to them and to this world, does not mean true Christians cannot keep the focus Scriptural. In our home, we have always gotten up and read both the Matthew and Luke accounts of the birth of Jesus Christ, before doing anything else. Then, we talk about what it means to us.
Also, along these lines, there is absolutely nothing wrong with generosity and gift-giving, on December 25th or any other day of the year. This is the time of year that many things can be purchased on sale, and money can be saved. There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of the savings, and being generous with our loved ones and friends. And don't kid yourself...JWs too take advantage of the lower prices. In fact, I just worked this past week end in our family's clothing store, which is managed by my JW cousin. And he seemed to have no problem putting items on sale for Christmas, in an attempt to drum up business. And it worked, by the way. Nor have I ever known a JW to turn down a Christmas bonus, or a Christmas gift, for that matter.
So, there is nothing wrong with saving money, and being generous at Christmas time.
Now, for reasons #1 and #2....The fact that there is no command in Scripture TO remember Christ's birth, is an argument from silence, and cannot be used to argue against doing so. Just as there is no commandment to do it, there is also no commandment, or even a Biblical PRINCIPLE, not to do so. If He had not been born, then there would have been no death or resurrection to remember either. So, to say that there is no commandment to remember His birth, and use this is a means of judging a person's Christianity, is completely without warrant and unscriptural.
Like the Bible scholar DW points out....There is no endorsement/commandment to drive a Toyota, but I don't think this means we should go around condemning people who do so, just because there is no command either way.
Now, what about the date of December 25th? This date was chosen, NOT to celebrate a pagan festival (as some wrongly think), but to supplant that festival with something more Biblical. Now, that is not to say that some false customs haven't crept into the Christmas celebration, because they have. But December 25th did not become a "cursed" date, just because pagans happened to celebrate something wicked on that date. That certainly doesn't mean that followers of Christ cannot use that same date, to remember that He was born into this world, as the Christ Who would go to the cross and shed His blood for the atonement of our sins.
Regarding the December 25th date, I like how one now-deceased religious leader put it. He said....
""Christmas Day, in celebration of our dear Redeemer's birth, has for centuries been celebrated on Dec. 25; and although it is now well known that this date is in error...nevertheless, since the Lord has given no instructions whatever upon this subject, and since it is proper to do good deeds and think good thoughts upon any day, it cannot be improper, ...for us to remember in a social way our dear Redeemer's birth at this time."
This same person also stated....
""It matters not particularly that Dec. 25 is not the anniversary of our Lord's birth, according to the Scriptural account; that really He was born about September 25, nine months later. One day, as well as another, will serve us to commemorate our Savior's birth in the flesh, as a gift of God's love to a condemned and dying world."
That person who made the above comments, was Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the religion known as Jehovah's Witnesses. Both of those statements can be found in separate editions of "ZION'S WATCH TOWER".
Also, something else I found interesting, is the modern claim from JWs that the origin of honoring Christ's birth is pagan. Consider this statement, which was once taught in their own literature, as the history of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ....
The following quote is taken from volume 2, of "STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES", page 61....
"It says "...we could not be certain that the exact day might not be in September about the 27th, but October 1st, B.C. is about correct. Nine months back of that date would bring us to about Christmas time, 3 B.C., as the date at which our Lord laid aside the glory which he had with the Father before the world was made and the taking of or changing to human nature began. It seems probable that this was the origin of the celebration of December 25th as Christmas Day. Some writers on Church history claim, even, that Christmas Day was originally celebrated as the date of the annunciation by Gabriel to the virgin Mary."
So, does it really matter that December 25th is likely not the exact date, or that pagans did something else on that particular date? Not in the least. What IS important, is that Christians do not honor any false gods or pagan customs in their celebration. There are certain things that are commonly associated with Christmas, that should have no part in the celebration of a Christian, namely Santa Claus. It is completely inappropriate for a Christian parent to teach their child the existence of Santa Claus. Why? Because its a lie, plain and simple. It detracts from the REAL focus of the holiday, and gives the attributes of God to a fictitious man at the North Pole, and used as a means of bribing a child to "be good". Regardless of how "fun" people may think it is, the fact remains that it is a lie. And lies SHOULD have no part in the life of any Christian.
Now, is it Scripturally permissible to honor the birth of Jesus Christ? Yes, it is. We see that on the night of His birth, the angels worshipped and proclaimed with great joy....
Luke 2:10-14...."And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
They were honoring the One Who was BORN the "Christ", and not some created angel who became "Christ" some 30 years later. The One they were honoring was Christ at His birth.
Also, we see that the shepherds rejoiced in the fact of Christ's birth, despite the fact that there was "no commandment to do so".
Luke 2:20- "And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them."
In regards to the birth of John the Baptist, who was the forerunner of Jesus Christ, we read....
Luke 1:14- "And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth."
If it is proper to rejoice at the birth of the forerunner of Jesus Christ, then it would certainly be proper to rejoice at the birth of the One Who came to save us.
So, my stance is a Scriptural one....Each person decides in his own conscience before God, if they choose to honor the birth of Jesus Christ at this time of year, or if they choose not to. Either way, there is no commandment, nor any right to judge another person for their decision in this matter. My family's celebration of the birth of Christ, has nothing to do with the Roman Catholic Church, who by the way, seems to try and take credit for MANY things that they had nothing to do with, or the Baptist Church eiter. There are Baptists who don't, and Baptists who do. Neither group has any greater standing with God than the other.
Thanks for writing.