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Was J. F. Rutherford the Grinch Who Stole Christmas?

J.F._RutherfordThe_Grinch_(That_Stole_Christmas)

 

 

 

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In 1927, Joseph Franklin Rutherford declared Christmas to be of pagan origin, and the following year its celebration by Rutherford’s Bible Students was condemned as supporting “Satan’s organization” (The Golden Age, December 14, 1927, “The Origin of Christmas”, pp 178–79. 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 1974, p. 147)

Although Brother Russell acknowledged that Jesus was not born on December 25, he urged the brethren not to “quibble” about the date, but rather to join “in celebrating the grand event…” (Zion’s Watch Tower; December 1, 1904, p. 3468 Society Reprints.) As a result, Bethel workers decorated the dining hall for a festive dinner each year. However stern Judge Rutherford decided he would quibble. Pointing to the supposed pagan roots of certain Christmas customs, he instructed the office staff to quit observing the day, so that there was NO Christmas dinner served in 1927 or thereafter. To persuade the brethren to abandon the holiday, Rutherford published a hard-hitting article in the December 12, 1928 issue of the Golden Age.

 

PAGAN ORIGINS?

Christmas does not have pagan origins, but there were winter celebrations that were pagan. Christians are not celebrating a pagan holiday because the pagan holiday was the Saturnal and we are not worshipping the god of Saturn. All of these ancient meanings with their beliefs and associations were lost long ago. When Friday roles around we don’t think about Fria, the goddess of love. On Saturday we don’t think about it as Saturn’s day, but as our day off.

 

OTHER CELEBRATIONS

Before the time of Jesus and the Apostles, the Jews adopted two new celebrations – Hanukkah (beginning 139 BC) and Purim (began prior to 400 BC). Jesus and the Apostles never advised against these celebrations. As a matter of fact, the Apostle Paul said, “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—” (Col 2:16 NAS95)

Did you know that some pagan religions practiced baptism?  Does not make Christian baptism a sin. Of course not. The practice of baptism in pagan religions seems to have been based on a belief in the purifying properties of water. In ancient Babylon, according to the Tablets of Maklu, water was important as a spiritual cleansing agent in the cult of Enke, lord of Eridu. In Egypt, the Book of Going Forth by Day contains a treatise on the baptism of newborn children, which is performed to purify them of blemishes acquired in the womb.

“Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.” (Romans 14:4-6 NAS95)

Just because the world distorts something, that does not make it evil, as long as we avoid the distortions and use it as God intended or in a way that does not go contrary to God’s character and holiness. A good illustration is the beauty of sexual love within the bonds of marriage.

“To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.” (Titus 1:5 NASB).

 

CHRISTMAS TREE

In Europe, Pagans in the past did not cut down whole evergreen trees, bring them into their homes and decorate them. That would have been far too destructive of nature. But during the Roman celebration of the feast of Saturnalia, Pagans did decorate their houses with clippings of evergreen shrubs. They also decorated living trees with bits of metal and replicas of their God, Bacchus.

The Prophet Jeremiah condemned as Pagan the ancient Middle Eastern practice of cutting down trees, bringing them into the home and decorating them. Of course, these were not really Christmas trees, because Jesus was not born until centuries later, and the use of Christmas trees was not introduced for many centuries after his birth. Apparently, in Jeremiah’s time the “heathen” would cut down trees, carve or decorate them in the form of a god or goddess, and overlay it with precious metals. Some Christians currently feel that this Pagan practice was similar enough to our present use of Christmas trees that this passage from Jeremiah can be used to condemn both:

Jeremiah 10:2-4: “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.” (King James Version).

The very next verse, 10:5, goes on to say, “Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.” This passage and the passages that follow make it crystal clear that the “decorated tree” that Jeremiah was talking about in 10:3-4, was a tree that was cut down and made into an idol, a very common custom in the ancient world. 10:8-10 also confirms this, where the wooden idols are contrasted with the LORD, who is the true and living God.

We think that the problem with Christmas is not the forgotten pagan celebrations which occurred around the same time, rather it is the over commercialization and replacing Jesus with Santa Claus.

 

CONSCIENCE

We are NOT saying that the Christian SHOULD celebrate Christmas, but rather that a Christian CAN celebrate Jesus’ birth at Christmas time. We believe it is a matter of conscience. If it bothers your conscience or if it is not about celebrating Jesus birth, then do not participate.

1 Corinthians 10 and Romans 14 show that we should not behave in a way that stumbles our brother to violate his conscience. Paul argues that it is okay to eat meat offered to idols. After all, it is just meat. However, Paul indicates that if it stumbles our brother, we should refrain.

Now isn’t meat offered to idols related to pagan worship? And yet Paul says it is okay to eat it.

In our own case, probably we are buying products from companies that publicly support immoral and anti-biblical views. The point is that if we are not engaging in pagan worship or immortal acts, etc. then we are okay.

 

JESUS BIRTHDAY

The religious rulers in Jesus day were overly legalistic creating a multitude of additional rules above and beyond the Law of Moses. For us there is the same danger of such an intense devotion to the details of the Bible in such a way that we miss the spirit and essential thrust of a passage. Mountains are made out of mole hills and the truth is missed. One is busy counting the number of letters in a sentence rather than listening to its instruction. Jesus said, “You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” (Matt 23:24 NASV)

There is scriptural precedent for commemorating and remembering the birth of Christ. This is in keeping with the events that occurred around the time of Christ’s birth These include:

1. The appearance of the angel of the Lord with the glory of the Lord to announce the birth of Christ to the shepherds (Lk. 2:10-12).

2. The response of the angels at the announcement of Christ’s birth (Lk. 2:13-14).

3. The actions of the shepherds who left their flocks to go and see which was nothing short of a celebration (Lk. 2:15-20).

4. And the arrival of the men from the east bearing gifts as much as a year to two years later (Matt. 2:1-12).

 

EXCESSIVE RULES

The problem is that to create rules about what holidays that Christians cannot observe is none of our business and a way a ruling body of men can gain control over a group. If the Bible does not forbid something, should we? Does this sound like the rule making of the Scribes and Pharisees by which they controlled people? Matt 23:24 (NASV) “You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!”

Mark 7 (NASV) “7 ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’
8 “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”
9 He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.
10 “For Moses said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER’; and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER, IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH’;
11 but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’
12 you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother;
13 thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.”

We should not be adding extra rules and burdens to God’s people that are not laid out in the Bible.

At the council in Jerusalem, the Apostle Peter did not want to burden the Gentile brethren and recommended they only avoid immorality and that which would stumble the potential Jewish converts.

Acts 15:19-21
19 “Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles,
20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.
21 “For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

I am not saying for example that we should celebrate birthdays or Christmas. However on what basis can we condemn other Christians it they want to celebrate? I don’t know of any Christians who worship the Christmas tree. I think the problem is that the holiday tends to be too commercialized and secular. However why not show others by example how to worship Jesus properly, by celebrating Jesus in reading the Biblical account to the family and children, not in promoting Santa Claus at Christmas time? If that bothers you, then don’t do it. But why should we judge and condemn others who consider it a time of remembering Jesus and following the example of gift giving by the wise men and by Jesus gift of his life to mankind?.

 

JESUS RESURRECTION

Since in ancient times, Easter celebrated the goddess of fertility Ishtar.  However, does that make it a sin for Christians to remember Jesus’ resurrection on the Sunday after the Memorial? 

There is, of course, the New Testament precedent for believers meeting together on Sunday. In essence this is a celebration of the Lord’s resurrection. The early church automatically did this, but Scripture does not command us to do so. In fact, the early church at first met daily and took the Lord’s Supper daily, but we don’t do that today. Why not? Because these are not binding. We are not under the Law. Believers meet on Sunday because of its significance and because the early church set a precedent for it, but it was never commanded in the Bible. Believers did it out of love and adoration for the risen Savior.

The point is this: If the early church could celebrate the resurrection without a specific command from God, only the spirit of legalism or the letter of the law would forbid the celebration of Christ’s birth as a special season of joy and adoration. Ultimately, the issue is not the season, it’s the attitude and reason behind it and the distortion of it. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water.

We do not know the exact date Jesus of Jesus birth, although we think it was approximately October 1. So we could not really celebrate his exact birth date and know it for sure. Interestingly, December 25th would be the approximate date of Jesus conception, so it is certainly a time that relates to his birth.

Those who want to celebrate, they can set an example by placing the focus where it belongs, on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”” (Lu 2:10-14 NAS95)

 

164 comments to Was J. F. Rutherford the Grinch Who Stole Christmas?

  • Maggy A

    Anonymous, I never said you weren’t informative as well. I just feel like a name even if it’s a pseudonym is just nicer. I wasn’t trying to disrespect you at all. I’d just have a hard time conversing on a large scale with someone named anonymous that’s all. Blessings

  • Dundee

    Br.Peter,
    Christian Liberty is not an expression in the vocabulary of jw’s. During Thanksgiving a few days ago, I purchased stuffing for my Turkey, & I bumped into some old jw friends I used to be in their kingdom hall & the looks that followed….well…… Lets just say if they had Supermans laser vision, my stuffing would of been in a ball of flames, & then they would of burned me alive. Then my children confirmed the phone call to my ex wife saying I celebrate Thanksgiving & was making judgemental condemnations on me. I just wanted to get that huge bird out my freezer…LOL. No Christian Liberty exists. Just judgments & heavy loads, shaming & guilting others.I speak from my own jw experience. Lets link a dvd to my brain & eyes & hit the play back button. Everyone would be like…..WHAT???? I didn’t know that happens. My father disfellowshipped a sister in our congregation for setting up the Christmas decorations in her home at her worldly husbands strict orders. The sister had a mental illness & couldn’t speak up for herself. Then I overhear my father on the phone with his fellow elders stating that the society had no records of the DFing. That they had to cover it up so they don’t get removed. They DFed her on their own. They didn’t say sorry to the sister. They just started talking to her as elders showing the flock that the others can speak to her now. No reinstatement. No appology. Just years of being shunned then like it was reversed. The poor sister left after depression set in. They all judged her for celebrating Christmas, even the children instructed to shun her for quite a while.. i remember the event vividly.

    • Dundee

      This reply is supposed to be at the bottom

      • Jacqueline

        Dundee, something similar happened to my mother she was never reinstated as she refused to accept it she wanted an announcement saying it was an error. She wrote the society for 4 years. The Circuit overseer just called on her and the rank and file suddenly realized they could talk to her also.

        Down thru History on the Jews worshiped Jehovah so EVERYTHING AND PRACTICE that we have are of Pagan origin if it isn’t Jewish, so there. We can’t do anything unless we check for the paganism in our walls city street structure from those pagan Romans, sewer system from those pagans and the candles from the pagan Chinese. Where will it end.
        Rutherford did a number on us with his craziness. I have been out shopping for my grandkids and the gifts are wrapped and hid.

        • Dundee

          Yes, i will be buying my offspring sum presents.They’re excited! However…i personally made an important decision to protect myself from my jw friends i see like almost at every store.Singing the Disney ride”Its a small world after all”.If i buy wrapping paper thats Christmas,or a christmas bag so i dont have to wrap the gifts,if i buy anything that looks suspicious…they will report to my previous Kingdom Hall,the elders will text me that they must meet with me on suspicions of celebrating a pagan holiday,witnesses will bear testimony2or more,an announcemt would be made publicly that i am no longer 1 of JW. A local needs part would quickly follow stating my gender & how im celebrating a pagan holiday,all will know & must shun me for the lack of Christian Liberty,Defimation of character & slander follow.They will tell me i will die at Armageddon.This i know from the experience of serving as an elder vividly.OH THE FEAR that still is here in this “small world after all”!!!

  • Maggy A

    Shalem, Thanks so much for your reply. This is such a beautiful time of year that is sadly missed by many. As for the comments that follow. Everyone is working hard to reply with scripture etc. Anonymous don’t you think you could at least make up a name rather than hide behind the anonymous monicker. I feel the good people that run this site at least deserve that kind of respect as they have been more than respectful and informative to you. Just saying

    • Anonymous

      Dear Maggie
      Since this site tells us we can remain “anonymous”, this is not a sign of disrespect.
      I can choose whatever name I want or remain anonymous. This is my own choice.
      As for who has been informative, you can read my comments again from the beginning
      Best regards

  • Assuming Christmas “does not” have pagan origins as the article suggests, then one must conclude that it “does not” have “Jesus-teaching” origins. (Notice I did not say “Bible” origins because it should be what Jesus taught that matters here).

    “Christmas” is one of those things people just want to do because it is what THEY want to do. It is something not taught or instituted by Christ and was unknown to his disciples because Christ did not teach it.

    The mistake made is that many are making assumptions that “Christmas” is something from God and Christ. When the truth of the matter is that it is from men. (Men of European descent to be more specific).

    It is all a lie and to somehow sugar-coat it and make “holy and true” shows that individuals who are into it have no interest in the truth.

    At John 16:6 Jesus declared himself to be “the truth.” Yet, it is not “the truth” (Jesus) who is being listened to here. It is men (their lies) who are.

    Yet, the Most High God commanded at Luke 9:35 that we listen to His Son.

    If Jesus never spoke of such a thing as Christmas, then who’s voice(s) are persons who believe, observe and celebrated it … listening to?

    Many have to propensity to use human sources and references to define things. People, those things do not matter. What matters is what God and Christ says about a matter.

    Jesus told the Devil at Matthew 4:4 that we do not live on bread alone, but on EVERY word that comes out of GOD’S MOUTH.

    That Christ ALONE is God’s Word (no, not any book by any name), we listen to EVERYTHING that comes out of his mouth.

    So, did Christ speak of Christmas?

  • Jacqueline

    I was thinking if this happened in 1927, Rutherford said in 1919 they were inspected and found to be the only religion in harmony with the truth but weren’t they aware of what he said was paganism when they celebrated Christmas after being chosen as the slave class? It is just a thought.
    And now the society teaches that there was no faithful and discreet slave prior to 1919 so how were they chosen when carrying on pagan practices according to them? Just thinking out loud here.

    • Anna

      Prior to 1927 they were celebrating Christmas in the spirit that has been mentioned on here, as an opportunity to glorify the Christ, or as Brother Russell put it join “in celebrating the grand event…”. They were doing so with a pure and honest motive. But the crucial point is, AFTER realizing the truth about Christmas they stopped. No one is perfect, the society is not perfect, they will make mistakes, BUT after realizing the mistakes, are they willing to change and adjust? That is the point. Or are you saying God will only use a people who have everything right from the moment go? You know yourself that this is not true. You know from the Bible that Jehovah used countless people who had made mistakes but showed the right attitude and changed. If Jehovah was looking for those on earth who never make a mistake, who could he use? The answer is obvious, no one.

      • Jeff

        Anna,

        In 1935, when the Society was trying to rid itself of everything pagan, they even attacked the calendar and all those who were using the current calendar system that we all use because of its pagan origins to the mythological gods and goddess.

        When the Society realized the truth about the names of the days of the week and the names of the month, they devised what they defined as a Theocratic Calendar.

        In a three part article published in The Golden Age in 1935 (this magazine’s title was later changed to Consolation, and later to Awake), called The Second Hand in the Timepiece of God (found at http://jehovah.net.au/books/1935-Golden-Age.pdf) it reads:

        “Let it be supposed that the Gregorian council had really desired to honor the apostles whose successors they claim to be. What a fine chance they had! For instance, they could have changed January to James, in honor of the man
        to whom the Scriptures refer as the Lord’s brother. But they preferred to have millions of people everlastingly writing down a name in honor Janus, the original Roman “father”. Janus was two-faced. His successors have been like their “father”. He was worshiped as the god of gods, supreme janitor of heaven and earth. The word “janitor” takes its derivation from the word “Janus”. . . One can readily understand why the Roman Catholic theologians wanted to retain this connection with heathenism. …the theologians preferred the old name, with which, no doubt, some god or goddess was in some way involved.”

        The article continues its discussion on the names days of the week as well when it states, “The Devil, of course, was the one who induced the ancestors of the present generation to name all the days of the week after heathen gods and goddesses. Neither God nor Christ, nor any prophet or apostle, is represented in the days of the week as now in common use. Sunday is named after the sun god; Monday, after the moon god; Tuesday, after Zeus, or Tyr; Wednesday, after the god Woden; Thursday, after Thor, the god of thunder; Friday, after Frigg or Friga, Woden’s wife; and Saturday, after Saturn. The Theologians could have changed all this if they had wished to do so, but they did not.”

        The article then continues to explain why even the count of the hours, and the number of the days of the month all have pagan origins as well, and states, “it is thus seen that the Devil and the children of the Devil are greatly interested in having everything different from the way God arranged it, not only as respects the years and the months, but as respects the weeks, the days, and even the hours, and the reason for it is clear. The Devil is determined to leave no stone unturned to dishonor God, and he also well knows that as one error leads to another so one truth also leads to another, and is in terror lest great truths long covered should be brought to light.”

        After multiple incomprehensible pages of explanation of even why the number of the count of the year 1935 was wrong, it goes on to publish a calendar stating it was to be thenceforth called “Jehovah’s year of Ransom 1903”.

        The names of the days of the week were renamed, Lightday, Heavenday, earthday, Starday, Lifeday, Mansday, Godsday, and the names of the month were renamed, Redemption, Life, Visitment, Freedom, Vindication, Hope King, Peace, Order, Logos, Jehovah, and Temple.

        The new calendar was so confusing that it was dropped about a year later.

        The Jehovah’s witnesses have returned to the pagan calendar, months, and days of the week.

        • Jacqueline

          Jeff this is an image of the calendar they tried to use instead of the “PAGAN” calendar that they now use without complaints. They accept pagan practices, just not those bringing honor to Jesus. They are consistent in this attitude and puts themselves in his place instead, exhibiting an anti-Christ (instead of) attitude.

          http://www.jwfacts.com/images/calendar-of-jehovah-god.jpg

        • Anna

          Jeff, I am sorry, but I do not understand the point you are trying to make.

          • Anna,
            What I got from Jeff’s clearly written post is that the JW’s do what “God says” to their “anointed” about ridding themselves of all pagan influences unless it is inconvenient. These leaders (whoever they may be at the time) make rules and try to implement them. The “No Christmas” rule stuck and the “rename the pagan calendar” rule didn’t. They seem to pick which rules to eventually follow after a trial run.

            Have you ever read Orwell’s “1984”? Groupthink is a dangerous thing and is used to control large groups not to honor God. Honestly and openly searching and studying the Scripture with Christian Liberty is not just honoring God but obeying Him.

            As for celebrating the birth of Jesus not being scriptural, there are hundreds if not thousands of things we all do everyday that are not “allowed” by Scripture such as watching TV or driving your car. They are simply just not mentioned so are we not allowed to do them? Whereas the celebration of Jesus birth IS mentioned. (Ask the angels) I completely understand your feelings on what has become of the day. It is not good. And yes, I know it is not the right date. So would you be all right with celebrating the birth of our Lord if we were to KNOW the actual date? Someday we will as all will be known.

            In ending, just because some “man” said he got info from God that Christmas should not be celebrated and has convinced so many is, in my opinion, suspicious in itself. (Remember Jim Jones?) If he himself chooses not to celebrate, I would honor that. But to impose his own beliefs on such a large group is more of a control mechanism and should be understood as such.

            I am a consecrated member of Christ’s body in that the Holy Spirit has guided me to the truth and aids in my understanding of our Scriptures and in how I conduct my life. It does not bother me or upset me if you feel differently about celebrating our Saviors birth. This is just how I see the subject and I am sure that whatever I may say will not affect how you feel. That is okay!

            In Christ,
            Chuck

            • Anna

              Chuck,
              I know what you mean about Jim Jones. Not good at all. But you are making a mistake, and I do not know if you are deliberately making this assumption or whether you genuinely believe it, but all the way from Russell through Rutherford and down to the men at Bethel today, none have ever claimed divine inspiration or infallibility. Granted, to a few it may appear like that is what is being said, but it is never meant that way. In fact many times it has been said plainly that these men DO NOT claim divine inspiration. I can post quotes from the publications if you want. Most (I do not want to say all because some may be thinking it erroneously) Witnesses know and believe that the GB is not inspired. WE know that presently God does not work this way, he gave us his inspired word the Bible, and that is his word to us, our guide. 2 Tim 3:16

              You say you feel you are a consecrated member of Christ body, therefore you know how holy spirit works and how it aids understanding of scripture. You would not claim you have divine revelation or inspiration directly from God on a subject that is not specifically mentioned in the Bible would you? So how would YOU decide if something is right or wrong if there is no direct law about the subject? Your conscience obviously says it’s ok to celebrate Christ’s birth, and it’s none of my business what you do. But I must take issues with your arguments here. You are saying that because something isn’t directly mentioned in the Bible, such as watching TV then it must be ok. But then you say because something IS mentioned in the Bible it makes it ok too? You and I know that there are many things in the Bible that are naturally not mentioned because they never existed in those days. (Christmas being one of them). Of course Jehovah in his wisdom knew that, and therefore gave us more PRINCIPLES than laws, so that the mature Christian with a well trained conscience and thorough knowledge of the Scriptures can make the right decision about ANY subject or issue. And THAT is the key. Yes, the angels did rejoice and there was a celebration in heaven when Jesus was born. So does that fact give us the license to do this every year on a false date that was decided on by Babylon the Great and when the rest of the world (which is lying in the power of the wicked one) decides to do so amidst customs which dishonor him? It’s like saying to Jehovah, “here is a day, chosen by your adversary the Devil and I am going to celebrate it as the birth of your beloved son.” How Satan must be delighted! He has managed to deceive the whole world of Christendom that Christmas is a “festival to God”. Do we not learn though Jehovah’s thoughts from a historical account in the Bible when a very similar thing happened? Exodus 32:4- 8: “Then he took the gold from them, and he formed it with an engraving tool and made it into a statue of a calf. They began to say: “This is your God, O Israel, who led you up out of the land of Egypt.” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. Then Aaron called out: “There is a festival to Jehovah tomorrow.” So they got up early on the next day and began offering up burnt offerings and presenting communion sacrifices. After that the people sat down to eat and drink. Then they got up to have a good time. Jehovah now said to Moses: “Go, descend, because your people, whom you led up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have quickly deviated from the way I commanded them to go. They have made for themselves a statue of a calf, and they keep bowing down to it and sacrificing to it and saying, ‘This is your God, O Israel, who led you up out of the land of Egypt.”
              Can you not see how bad this whole Christmas thing smells? No matter how much one wishes to water it down or disguise it as a “festival to Jehovah”. Or do you really believe it is a sweet smelling odor to Him?

              Regarding “some man deciding he got it from God that Christmas was not to be celebrated” would make me suspicious indeed. But I have already established that this was not the case. In fact reading about that time period, never gives me the impression that God divinely revealed that Christmas was not to be celebrated. As Anonymous posted in his comment, would this statement make you believe that this “man” got it as some divine revelation from God: “Because during the succeeding year, our heads began to think about the matter. And an investigation was undertaken with regard to this highly disputed subject”. Be honest. Isn’t it obvious that this investigation involved delving into the history of Christmas and comparing it with principles found in the Bible? Is this not the “honestly and openly searching and studying the Scripture with Christian Liberty” of which you speak?

              Which brings me to the next point. Are we like a spiritual babe, who needs explicit commands and laws, or are we able to discern from the PRINCIPLES in the Bible what would be pleasing to God or not. Those at Bethel and then all the congregations that followed had a choice after listening to the “Christmas” talk. They were free to decide and exercise their God given liberty whether to accept and agree with the scriptural reasoning on why Christmas should not be celebrated. If they didn’t agree, they could leave. Evidently most agreed with it. It is the same today, if one wishes to be baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses are they aware, and not only understand but AGREE with all the conditions to becoming a Witness to Jehovah which includes not celebrating Christmas? Would you say this was control? Plenty of Christian liberty there I would say. Or would you say for example I was just following some “Man’s inspired” declaration that Christmas is bad? Or would you say I was pretty clear on the reasons why I personally could not celebrate Christmas?

              Christians should celebrate the birth of Christ EVERY day, thanking Jehovah for providing his precious Son so that we may have hope. And more importantly, they should commemorate his death (which actually IS a commandment from Jesus) which made this hope a reality.

              Oh, and as regards this “choosing and picking” and “seeing what sticks” theory, well you make it sound like this is just some frivolous exercise in power control. Is that what you really think? To me it seems more like a grave concern about not doing ANYTHING that displeases Jehovah. I would rather err on the side of caution than displease the Almighty. Interestingly, why do you think that not celebrating Christmas “stuck” but the calendar did not? Does this not indicate Christian liberty in action right there?

              • Anna,
                Let’s start with the question I asked of you in my post that you did NOT address.
                So would you be all right with celebrating the birth of our Lord if we were to KNOW the actual date? Someday we will know, as all will be known.

                I know you will not agree with all i have to say. That is your prerogative and that is fine. I do not agree with a lot of what you have stated.

                Now to address a few of the questions you asked of me and some of your statements:

                “So how would YOU decide if something is right or wrong if there is no direct law about the subject?”

                Like you, I would study what the Scriptures say. I would also discuss it with Brethren I know. A consensus can usually be agreed upon. Our consensus just differs from yours.

                “But I must take issues with your arguments here. You are saying that because something isn’t directly mentioned in the Bible, such as watching TV then it must be ok. But then you say because something IS mentioned in the Bible it makes it ok too?”

                You totally misunderstood this statement of mine (please reread it). I did not say watching TV was OK. I said it is not in Scripture. We can agree on that. Would watching TV with what is put out over the airways sit well with God? Do YOU watch TV? (I feel the TV is also a tool of our adversary.) It would depend on how you spent your time watching and what you watch in my opinion that would make it okay with God. Do you agree with this? Because the same applies to the celebrating of our Lords birth on Christmas.

                “You and I know that there are many things in the Bible that are naturally not mentioned because they never existed in those days. (Christmas being one of them).”

                Jesus was born about 90 years prior to the Revelation of John. So, “Christmas” in the sense of it being Jesus birth DID exist in those days. And the celebration is even written about.

                “Can you not see how bad this whole Christmas thing smells? No matter how much one wishes to water it down or disguise it as a “festival to Jehovah”. Or do you really believe it is a sweet smelling odor to Him?”

                I believe that if with a pure heart and good conscience we are to celebrate the birth of Gods only Son, he would consider that a sweet smelling odor. (As long as we don’t get caught up in the worldly circus!) The date does not matter. We both celebrate the “fact” year round but the “event” itself is also of importance. See my question to you at the beginning of this post.

                “In fact reading about that time period, never gives me the impression that God divinely revealed that Christmas was not to be celebrated.”

                I agree and chose to honor God by the celebration of His Sons birth. I do not have an organization keeping me from this.

                “Be honest. Isn’t it obvious that this investigation involved delving into the history of Christmas and comparing it with principles found in the Bible? Is this not the “honestly and openly searching and studying the Scripture with Christian Liberty” of which you speak?”

                Being honest, I find the decision made by the brethren of that time wrong. I know many others also found it wrong. The Bible Students do to this day. Only the branch that split off becoming what was to become the Jehovahs Witnesses decided to abandon the celebration of our Lord Jesus’ birth. It was in their Christian Liberty to take that path. That is okay!

                “They were free to decide and exercise their God given liberty whether to accept and agree with the scriptural reasoning on why Christmas should not be celebrated. If they didn’t agree, they could leave.”

                I will point to this statement as to the “CONTROL” I have been talking about. WHOSE scriptural reasoning? “If they didn’t agree, they could leave.” REALLY! I don’t think they had a choice in that. Using their OWN Christian Liberty to celebrate our Lords birth was NOT ALLOWED in order to be a member of this group. The JW’s have the right to not celebrate and that is okay. But Christian Liberty has nothing to do with it.

                “It is the same today, if one wishes to be baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses are they aware, and not only understand but AGREE with all the conditions to becoming a Witness to Jehovah which includes not celebrating Christmas? Would you say this was control?”

                Absolutely.

                “Or would you say I was pretty clear on the reasons why I personally could not celebrate Christmas?”

                You ARE pretty clear and I thank you for explaining your side of the subject. It is always welcome. You chose not to and I chose to. Nothing wrong with that.

                “To me it seems more like a grave concern about not doing ANYTHING that displeases Jehovah.“

                I would agree that we must always take that into the forefront of ALL our actions. I just don’t believe I’ll let an organization make that decision for me.

                In Christ,
                Chuck

                • Anna

                  Chuck-

                  “(I feel the TV is also a tool of our adversary.) It would depend on how you spent your time watching and what you watch in my opinion that would make it okay with God. Do you agree with this?”
                  – Yes I agree with you there, but I do not agree with your analogy in relation to Christmas. Christmas is a RELIGIOUS celebration, a celebration instituted by false religion Babylon the Great and it is a direct lie against Jehovah.

                  You say the celebration of Christmas is even written about in the Bible? You mean the occasion when Christ was born? Or when?

                  You say the event itself is of importance. Of so much importance that the closest to him, his apostles and early disciples did not celebrate it? Christ’s birthday began to be celebrated for the first time over 300 years later, by Babylon the Great and in replacement of a pagan holiday. Brother Russell and his associates celebrated the birth of God’s son with a pure heart and a good conscience. However, after reviewing all that has since been found out about Christmas, the points I have mentioned, I cannot see how anyone with a good conscience would now want to be associated with anything that happens on December the 25th. I believe if Brother Russell was with us today, he would not be celebrating Christmas. I am convinced of that.

                  “Being honest, I find the decision made by the brethren of that time wrong. I know many others also found it wrong”. – Can I ask you why you find it wrong?

                  “If they didn’t agree, they could leave.” REALLY! I don’t think they had a choice in that”.
                  – Oh but they did have a choice in that, and as you say yourself, some did exercise that choice and did leave.

                  “But Christian Liberty has nothing to do with it”- . So you are saying that the JW’s don’t celebrate Christmas only because they want to stay a part of the group? That it has nothing to do with the fact that they have exercised their Christian liberty and personally believe that celebrating Christmas is wrong?

                  And you think its control? How can something be control if it is performed with a free will? You may need to explain this.

                  “I just don’t believe I’ll let an organization make that decision for me”
                  – I agree with you, I would not let an organization make that decision for me either. It just happens that I agree with what the organization is saying, that’s all.

                  Before I forget, to answer your first question; “would I be alright in celebrating the birth of Christ if I did know the exact date?” I am assuming you are talking about the time in the future when many things of God will be revealed? To be honest, because celebrating Christ’s birth is evidently not relevant or important to Jehovah or Christ today, I doubt knowing the date OR celebrating Christ’s birthday in the future will be relevant or important either. Therefore even IF Jehovah deemed it important to let us know the exact date when Jesus was born on earth (which I doubt) even then I would have no need to celebrate his birthday. Unless of course Jehovah ordered it. That would be a completely different kettle of fish. But somehow I do not see that happening, since it was Christs death that was the important thing, not his birth. “But God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” it does not say because “Christ was born for us”.

                  Here is a thought: According to Ecclesiastes 7:1 “..the day of death is better than the day of birth” why do you think God views the death of a person as more important than his birth?

                  • Anna, Anna, Anna…
                    You are so convinced in your own mind of the righteousness of the Jehovah Witness organization that you can’t see the forest for the trees. Your comments above seem to be written by someone with blinders on as to how others think. I gave you my views and answers to your questions and it seems as if you read them through the “rose colored glasses” of your organizations doctrine.

                    So, here goes again to your most recent comments:

                    “…a celebration instituted by false religion Babylon the Great and it is a direct lie against Jehovah.”

                    This is cut and paste in every JW post. I tend to read over this on most occasions. Exactly what is “a direct lie against Jehovah”? Is that something your organization has promulgated? Because I don’t see anywhere Jehovah has said NOT to celebrate His son’s birth.

                    “You say the celebration of Christmas is even written about in the Bible? You mean the occasion when Christ was born? Or when?”

                    You mean you really don’t understand this? I’m sorry. It is rather obvious to those that are not told to, or have decided not to, follow the organizations doctrines. I usually put “Christmas” in quotes to denote the occasion and not the pomp usually associated with it.

                    “You say the event itself is of importance. Of so much importance that the closest to him, his apostles and early disciples did not celebrate it? “

                    And you know this how? I do not believe I rave read in Scripture that they did not. Or anywhere that states they did. Please let me know which verses contain any of what you seem to have projected on to the apostles. I must have missed it. For I am sure there are a great many things they may have done that are not recorded for us. What they recorded is for use in walking the narrow way. There are a great many other things that we do, or that they did, that are not wrong or mentioned in Scripture.

                    ““Being honest, I find the decision made by the brethren of that time wrong. I know many others also found it wrong”. – Can I ask you why you find it wrong?”

                    If you truly read the commentary you clipped this from, you would know. The whole “We bring you great tiddings…” thing.

                    “- Oh but they did have a choice in that, and as you say yourself, some did exercise that choice and did leave.”

                    Yes, many did leave due to this “wrong” thinking. Some stayed due to this “right” thinking. That was their right. What of those that felt they did not have the choice. Many secretly still celebrate but are afraid to “leave” the organization for fear they will die in Armageddon. (Another “wrong” doctrine in my opinion geared toward fear and control. The nominal churches use the same tactic.)

                    “So you are saying that the JW’s don’t celebrate Christmas only because they want to stay a part of the group? That it has nothing to do with the fact that they have exercised their Christian liberty and personally believe that celebrating Christmas is wrong?”

                    YOU may have decided not to celebrate our Lords birth but those that still Love our Lord Jesus AND chose to honor His birth had no choice. NO, they did not have the option of staying in a group of brethren that they love AND celebrate in our Lord’s birth. “if you don’t agree with us then leave” is the mantra. Again, no Christian Liberty allowed and control being exercised.

                    “And you think its control? How can something be control if it is performed with a free will? You may need to explain this.”

                    My goodness. You still don’t understand? Using your “free will” can and will get you kicked out, DF or shunned! Read my answer to the above question(s). If you don’t see it then nothing said on this site will ever convince you. You are in the wrong place. Go back to your organizations site. (Do they know you are here by the way. Or are you here on assignment? We know many JW’s are assigned to post here to disrupt and count time.)

                    “To be honest, because celebrating Christ’s birth is evidently not relevant or important to Jehovah or Christ today, I doubt knowing the date OR celebrating Christ’s birthday in the future will be relevant or important either. “

                    Again. And you know this how? Has Jehovah specifically told you or someone you know? I know a lot of consecrated (anointed) Brethren that celebrate our Lords birth today and will continue to do so. I am positive God and His son are so honored by the Love of the Brethren for Jesus displayed during the celebration of His birth.

                    “…since it was Christs death that was the important thing, not his birth. “But God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” it does not say because “Christ was born for us”.”

                    If there is death then birth is a given. Christ HAD to have been “born of man” in order to complete the sacrifice in his death. His birth is JUST as important. Without it he could not have died. Besides, isn’t the “miracle” of the birth of a baby precious in our Lords eyes? Should we not allow ourselves the same Love?

                    “Here is a thought: According to Ecclesiastes 7:1 “..the day of death is better than the day of birth” why do you think God views the death of a person as more important than his birth?”

                    First, this quote just states that the day of death is BETTER. There is nothing in it that puts down the day of birth. Death is the first step to the resurrection. To a life of no pain or crying. No longer living in this evil world.
                    A lot of importance is placed by our Lord on being “born anew” so I believe God DOES place importance on birth. Both natural AND spiritual are necessary for one to participate fully in Gods Grand Plan.

                    Anna, I have pretty much stated all I can on this subject and you obviously have your mind made up. That is fine and I support your decision not to celebrate our Precious Lords birth. I and many others chose the opposite. We are not wrong. I believe you are not wrong either. It is just your reasoning in question. That is okay also. To paint with a wide brush all that celebrate Christmas as being fooled is foolish. Yes, most of the world IS foolish because they celebrate for ALL the wrong reasons. Just remember that our Father Jehovah has blessed us with the birth of his only son so that He might grow up and fulfill His Plan as He so perfectly did. Even the angels celebrated!

                    I will NOT be responding any more to you. This thread is through. We have both stated our sides and we can let those reading make up their own minds. Some may agree with you and others with me. Again, that is okay.

                    Sincerely,
                    In Christ,
                    Chuck

                    • Anna

                      Chuck,

                      Evidently the annual celebration of Christ’s birth can’t be important to either Jehovah or Jesus since anything of importance IS mentioned in the Scriptures. Neither Jehovah, nor Jesus, nor the apostles make one single mention of an ANNUAL celebration of that one time occasion. It might be important to you but obviously not to those nearest and dearest to him. And if it wasn’t important then, why should it suddenly become important 300 years later? Or why should it become important in the future? I know the heavens rejoiced when Jesus was born, just like we rejoice when a baby is born. But does this mean we do this EVERY year, year in and year out after that. I mean Jesus has progresses way beyond a baby, he is a mighty and exalted King and high priest in heaven now.

                      But I agree, I feel this discussion is ad nauseam as well,
                      So I wish you the best. A

                    • Peter K. (admin)

                      Anna – Thanks. I continue to feel you are doing a good job of representing the JW position. Thanks for your contributions.

                      Regarding celebrating Jesus birth, it is a matter of Christian liberty and conscience. If it bothers your conscience or stumbles your brother to violate his conscience, then do not celebrate. However, if you heart is filled with thanks for the gift of our Savior and you want to honor Jesus in this way, then honor Him.

                      Romans 14:5-6, 13-14 (NASV)
                      “One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this-not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.”

                    • Anna

                      P.S
                      (Do they know you are here by the way. Or are you here on assignment? We know many JW’s are assigned to post here to disrupt and count time.)

                      Chuck, do you feel I should report to someone that I am on here? Because I don’t. As for this “assignment” theory that has been aired on here a number of times; no one has been assigned by the GB to post, nor disrupt or count time on any sites such as these. If someone posts, like me, then it is of their own free will and choice. And for your information, I am not counting time either.

                    • Jacqueline

                      Chuck now I think you understand why thousands are exiting. The Bible never said not to celebrate birthdays. Witnesses believe “everything of importance is mentioned in scripture”. We don’t have i milli-tenth of the important things about God mentioned in scripture. Chuck it is about control and many witnesses have ceased to know how to reason and think for themselves. I have heard elders called Bethel to get answers on minute little things. Those who’s brains are still working are escaping into Christ and honor him whenever they can to the glory of God. I am just so glad all are able to see the convoluted thinking of the governingbody viewing this conversation you have been having.
                      Yet the same people make fun of the http://www.silentlambs.org website that speak for and help those molested by known members of the religion and placed back in position after 6 months of not committing this offense against children. It is these types of conversations that you have been having that exposes them as the persons getting their reporting time in, by replying back and forth. Take Care

                    • Sr. Jacqueline,
                      Yes, it is frustrating trying to have a discussion with a diehard JW. They have been taught how to think and how to “answer” any opposition even if it is so obvious to others what they are doing. Some may think for themselves and actually believe the doctrine but if you don’t they make life hard on you or you are gone. The thought police may catch them if they step out of line. This is the fear and control I have come to notice. Anna made many statements in her posts that she may truly believe in. That is her choice. But if that choice is not the one made, you are out. She just does not seem to see this or purposely ignores it. She has made her choice and follows the decrees made by the organization so she is more than likely in good standing.

                      Br. Chuck

                    • Jacqueline

                      Chuck, there is a service meeting and Ministry School that specifically teaches a witness how to overcome objections. You will not get to the thinking part of the brain when discussing with a witness that has been indoctrinated. I was such a person. But bits and pieces would get thru from my bible studies with others in the field ministry. Something a Minister of another religion would say, would cause my brain to awaken. A word from a co-worker or associates would get thru when I would miss a meeting. I found it is the constantly being only with witnesses and slavishly attending and listening to just what they say that kills the brain cells as you are no longer thinking or using them.
                      If you tried to reason a matter out with a fellow witness you find out later they went to the elders and reported you, and you would get one come to you at the next meeting. It is so controlling that unless a person expose themselves to other thoughts they can’t break free. I am from a huge family of witnesses and the ones that are elders have a position to protect so it makes it even harder to begin thinking.
                      If that is what a person feels is right for them, I accept that and will not mention religious things to my family as they get so upset. A niece asked me not to post anything religious on my personal facebook page as it messes with her faith. Another relative said to discuss anything other than what the governingbody teaches puts his life in jeopardy. So you see they are very sincere and scared to harbor even a thought against the governingbody but these same persons will expose their children to a known prolific pedophile, who constantly go back up to elder after being DF at least 5 times. I just give up on the thought process of some witnesses. But if it suits them, I accept it as it is the way they are able to get thru the constantly changing doctrines and rules of the organization. Take Care.

            • Jacqueline

              Chuck, the watchtower society has of late had to admit they are not getting their thoughts directly from Jesus or God but in the past they claimed God only talks to them of all the people on the earth. I posted some of the quotes the other day. I will repost if you need them. Today the electronic website is cleaned up and delete old sayings but we have the actual books as we (brothers from other sites) never threw them away.

              Here is one and I am preparing more.
              “So, does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come?
              IDENTIFYING THE “PROPHET” These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet? … This “prophet” was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. (Watchtower 1972 Apr 1 pp.197-199 ‘They Shall Know that a Prophet Was Among Them’)

  • Edgar Morton, before 1920, published his book, Mythology and the Bible, in which he presented some of the pagan origins of some of the customs related to Christmas.

    http://www.agsconsulting.com/myth.htm

  • No one should set himself up as having divine authority to tell others that they cannot celebrate any day. All days belong to Jehovah; there is not any day that is a “pagan” day.

    There are, however, many idolatrous and occult practices that often cloud the Christmas celebrations. The occult practice of kissing under the mistletoe, for instance, mimicks the pagan idoltrous beliefs. The presenting of presents under the Christmas tree mimicks the presented of presents to idols; the of making petitions to an god-like “Santa Claus” is definitely mimicking idolatry. Also, much that takes place at Christmas time exalts the trinity idol.

    See my studies:
    http://living.rlbible.com/?cat=22

    • Jeff

      Reslight,

      Long time no see.

      I went to see Kirk Cameron’s “Saving Christmas” a couple weeks ago. It wasn’t very good, and he did try to reinterpret some of the non-Christian aspects of Christmas in a new light.

      The part I did not like is his re-enactment of St. Nicholas (who was at the council of Nicea) dressed in a Lord of the Rings style, garment going to a local pub and grabbing Arius by the collar, dragging him outside and beating him with his Holy stick. It was quite violent, and was applauded by the audience at the theater.

      • Jeff

        Kirk’s movie is now the number 1 worst film ever on the Internet Movie Database.

        http://time.com/3621867/kirk-cameron-saving-christmas-worst-movie-imdb/

        • Jacqueline

          Jeff I will go look at this: Here is one of their reasoning on the WEDDING RING that has pagan roots: They pick and choose but notice their conclusion.

          Watchtower 1952 June 15 pp.361-2 The Marriage Ceremony
          In marriage services performed by and for Jehovah’s witnesses, the exchange of rings between the bride and the bridegroom is left entirely optional with those being married. In the selection of the bride for Isaac it is recognized that Rebecca accepted a hand adornment. (Gen. 24:22, 30, 53, Mo; AT) Similarly in Luke 15:22, a ring was given to the prodigal by his father on his home-coming.

          We, of course, recognize that rings are used extensively in many pagan rituals. This fact, however, in no wise prohibits their use in any Christian service, particularly when the Bible mentions their use with approval. It is certainly more reasonable to expect that Satan, the mimic god, copied their use from Jehovah, rather than to accept the untenable position that Jehovah copied their use from demonic heathen practices. However, if some prefer to dispense with them in their marriage service, it is their right to do so. On this point let each one feel quite free to do that which is proper and right in his own mind. A bridegroom does not wed his bride by putting a ring on her finger. Of course, a wedding ring is by no means a Christian requirement. One Christian might decide not to wear a wedding ring, because of conscience, personal taste, cost, local custom, or some other reason. Yet another Christian might decide to indicate his married status by means of a wedding ring. Hence, in the final analysis the decision is a personal one, to be made in accord with the conscientious views one holds.

  • Anna

    The celebration of Christmas was instituted by counterfeit Christianity in the third century in order to make itself more palatable to those in political power. Would we want to adopt something that counterfeit Christians (Christendom) invented to curry favor with Kings, and considering we are told to “get out of her?”( Rev 18:4). Jesus’ birth was certainly not celebrated by his apostles or any of the early Christians. Would the fact that the Angels rejoiced when Jesus was born give us the license to celebrate his birth every year and on the wrong date? Considering that, Jesus did give a clear commandment to his disciples to observe the memorial of his death. This shows the relative importance he attached to his death, versus his birth. His obedience unto death is what brought mankind out of enslavement to sin and death. Jesus could have been born and prove himself unfaithful, in which case his birth would have defeated the purpose for which he was sent. Just like Ecclesiastes 7:1 says: “A good name is better than good oil, and the day of death is better than the day of birth”.

  • Maggy A

    This article made my day. I just posted on my FaceBook page the other night the verses of Luke where the Angels not only celebrated, but told the shepherds to go celebrate the birth of the King. I have a lot of “friends” who slam me for celebrating Christmas but I have a child who loves Jehovah and who also won’t grow up bitter at me for taking the simple joys of Christmas from him. We don’t have over the top Christmasses (we couldn’t afford to if we wanted to…lol) but it’s a happy warm family season of love. Blessings in Christian love Maggy

    • Jacqueline

      Maggy A, most witnesses with school age children buy them gifts also during this time. Some wouldn’t want this known because the watchtower slams Christmas so much as sign they are chosen. Everyone in the Christian world turns to Jesus during this time and it is to honor his sacrifice for us.
      I have been making a careful study of why I was taught against a lot of things having to do with Jesus birth. Sin and Satan fell on that Holy, Holy birthday of Christ.
      Weddings and anniversaries are also commercialized but we look pass and still recognize our marriage and anniversaries. Wedding rings are pagan in origin but witnesses use them in their ceremonies. People today that are Christian think of Christ. Witnesses do the commercial and give gifts and that is okay. Baptism is used in pagan ritual but Christians wouldn’t stop. Thank you for commenting. Jacqueline

      PS: Also we must remember Rutherford was assuming the role of the Jews at that time and becoming “Jehovah’s witnesses” in replacement of the Jews. So Jesus was not in the forefront with them and continues to be placed below the governing body.

    • shalem

      Hi Maggy,I will agree with your point. Every body knows what is truth about Christmas. I believe each person follow their own conscience rather than rules and regulations.

  • Anonymous

    J.Rutherford was not the one who “stole” Christmas. The one who openly opposed was NORMAN WOODWORTH, who was a Bethel family member, and the director of the “Dawn” later. LEts see what Frederick Franz says (you can find his recording)

    Here is a transcribed audio recording of Fred Franz given to me by everyone’s favorite orange dot: Abernathy the Dull. It is quite cute and interesting, and shows the honesty with which the brothers at Bethel approached the subject of Christmas.

    “Well this is brother Fred W. Franz talking. And I was privileged to come to the Brooklyn Bethel
    home in nineteen hundred and twenty, June 2nd. And, we celebrated Christmas. There were great preparations made for it by members of the Bethel family, weeks in advance. And this continued on down to the year nineteen hundred and twenty six. Well, it was in that year that the Christmas myth was exploded.
    This occurred because of a member of the Bethel family by the name of Norman Woodworth who was also a member of the Brooklyn congregation and an elder thereof. This Norman Woodworth was assigned to give the public talk on Sunday, December the 19th, nineteen hundred and twenty six. And, in the course of his talk he exposed Christmas as being a pagan holiday not based upon the Bible at all.
    This, of course, shocked all of us who were in the audience. So, there was great discussion that followed his exposure of Christmas as being maybe unchristian. When brother Rutherford returned the following day – or Tuesday – this matter was brought to his attention at the dining room table. And a great discussion followed. There were many remarks of indignation upon the part of various members of the Bethel family. I know I myself was quite perturbed, and I spoke in favor of the celebrating of Christmas. So brother Rutherford also finally gave his remarks, and these remarked in favor of the cancellation of the Christmas day celebration that was to take place the following Saturday, December the 25th.
    Well, during that heated debate there in the Bethel dining room of 124Columbia Heights , why Norman Woodworth remarked that he did not want any member of the Bethel family to give him a Christmas gift. So, on Christmas Eve, why, his chair at the table was removed from its location and placed up against the north wall of the dining room, all by itself. So, we had a great celebration that Christmas day. We would have the whole day off, regardless of what day of the week it was. This time it was Saturday, December the 25th. We would have the special dinner, and after breakfast, why, members of the family would get together in groups and they would go from one room to the other just to see how many gifts this brother or sister, or that brother or sister, had received. And it was a jolly good time that we experienced. However, this exposure of Norman Woodworth concerning Christmas as being Babylonish and
    pagan was not in vain. Because during the succeeding year, our heads began to think about the matter. And an investigation was undertaken with regard to this highly disputed subject. And it developed that toward the end of the year nineteen hundred and twenty seven, why, an article was published. And the writer thereof was Richard Barber. And he had been assigned by brother Rutherford to write an article about Christmas. He did so, and he also exposed Christmas as having no foundation in the Bible but being purely pagan and derived from the rights of ancient Babylon the Great.

    So, in view of that article, why, the holding of Christmas by the Brooklyn Bethel family was called off. And all the brothers and sisters around the earth who read that special article on Christmas were notified that it was improper for this celebration to be observed any longer by the International
    Bible Students. Sorry to say, however, that this Norman Woodworth began to veer away from the truth after that. And began to show some sympathies for the religious organization of Christendom. And it was found that he had gone so far astray that he had to be dismissed from the Brooklyn Bethel family.That was an unexpected thing to happen in the case of one who had been used to expose one feature of Babylon the Great. Namely, the celebration of Christmas.”

    • Peter K. (admin)

      Anonymous – I am not sure where you got this information about Norman Woodworth. So far nobody here at the congregation meeting at the Chicago Bible Students gathering has heard anything about this. How can you confirm this? It sounds like the scriptural ramifications of this issue are not your focus. Does it really matter what any brothers opinion is when the scriptures are our guide?

      You said “Norman Woodworth began to veer away from the truth after that. And began to show some sympathies for the religious organization of Christendom. And it was found that he had gone so far astray that he had to be dismissed from the Brooklyn Bethel family.”

      Are we talking about the same “Norman Woodwoth?” Because the one at the Dawn held on to the original Truths taught by Brother Russell, resisting the changes Rutherford made each year. So are you saying that retaining Russell’s views was the same as going astray and sympathizing with Christendom? If so, I am confused???

      • Anonymous

        We talk about the same Norman Woodworth who was an elder of the chicago Bible Students Ecclesia. Cousin of Clayton Woodworth too. This information was told by Frederick Franz, fourth President of the WatchTower Society, a man who had met br.Russell in person.
        EX JW Barbara Anderson has the recording with Br. Franz’s voice.

        http://watchtowerdocuments.org/audio-archives/

        (Go and click the talk named ““How Celebrating Christmas Was Stopped at Bethel”)
        I didn’t say Norman “began to veer away from the Truth”. Br. Franz said that, you can hear the recording. I believe that Br.Franz meant that Norman Woodworth went to support people who celebrated Christmas , favoured by Christendom. It had nothing to do with Br.Russell’s views on other matters.Im not sure if he ever celebrated Christmas.
        What it really matters is if the interpetation from the Bible you get is right or wrong. And interpretations are uttered by annointed brethren of Christ.

        • Peter K. (admin)

          Anonymous – So far I have been in contact with nearly a dozen older Bible Students. No one had any knowledge of Brother Norman Woodworth having a problem with celebrating Christ’s birth. No one knows of Dawn Publications as preventing the celebration of Christ’s birth while Brother Norman Woodworth was president. I am a member of the Chicago Bible Students and in talking with our older members there is no doubt that Brother Norman Woodworth was never an elder in our Congregation. Also, Brother Ted M. has records going back to 1936 which as well affirms he was not an elder in our congregation, so your information does not appear to me to be very accurate. However, I feel you must be sincere and trusting what you heard from Br. Franz and/or others.

          A biography of Norman Woodworth’s life can be found here: http://www.biblestudentarchives.com/documents/Woodworth.pdf

          The quote below actually indicates that Brother Norman Woodworth announced his decision to leave followed by JF Rutherford directly disfellowshipping him.

          “Ere long, however, clouds appeared on the horizon. New views of the truth began to be proclaimed, and I was censured because I did not keep up to date with the “Frank and Ernest” program. I argued with the “powers that be” that the “Frank and Ernest” programs were bringing good results and I saw no reason to change…
          “When asked if I believed that the Lord had an organization and that the Watchtower was that organization, my reply was thatI did not believe that any man or any group of men had a monopoly on God’s truth. That settled it. I was glad then that I had stayed on until this clear-cut opportunity of resenting the real reason for leaving came to me. There was no doubt then that to remain in the service with this group meant that one had to obey them rather than God. One of the fundamental points of truth which I had learned in the beginning from the teachings of Brother Russell – and it was drilled into me by both word and example by my father—was that the Bible alone, inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, is the only true channel of truth.
          “The whole idea of exclusive human channelism was repugnant to me. And now that I had found out for sure that believing in this sort of thing was the only condition under which I could continue with the group with which I was serving, I rejoiced in the opportunity of becoming free from such a system of man-made bondage. I was warned by Brother Rutherford that most of those who had left the Society had engaged in nothing but slandering and misrepresenting him. I assured him that while I had no idea of what I would do, I knew I would have something more important to occupy my time than to talk about him. This was about midmoring, and I was denied the privilege of even remaining there for lunch. He told me that he would announce to the brethren that I was a traitor and issue orders that none of them were to speak to me under any circumstances or have any dealings with me.”

          • Jacqueline

            Br. Peter I appreciate this statement by Br. Norman :(“When asked if I believed that the Lord had an organization and that the Watchtower was that organization, my reply was that I did not believe that any man or any group of men had a monopoly on God’s truth. That settled it. I was glad then that I had stayed on until this clear-cut opportunity of presenting the real reason for leaving came to me. There was no doubt then that to remain in the service with this group meant that one had to obey them rather than God.”)
            This is exactly what was asked of me, but I was not aware of what was going on and my elder body answered that they didn’t think I was apostate after being sent a letter directly from the society. I after finding out 4 yrs later from my husband what they meant, I too concluded I could not remain with them.
            I didn’t know this organization had formed way back then. It further helps me to understand and get baptized into Christ by a CHristian. This was insightful. Also I know of three cases where they will put the person out in the middle of the night with no place to go as late as this year. You would think they would have learned some decorum by this late date but are still doing it like Rutherford a very ruthless man did. The apple (governing body) has not fallen far from the tree.

            • Jacqueline

              I forgot to preface this to my last comment Br. Peter.
              These are some of the quotes that I wanted to know about from the society where was it scriptural support? They wrote my congregation by the time I got home from visiting in New York.

              “But Jehovah God has also provided his visible organization, his “faithful and discreet slave”, made up of spirit-anointed ones, to help Christians in all nations to understand and apply properly the Bible in their lives. Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do.” Watchtower 1981 Nov 15 p.27

              “But Jehovah’s servants already belong to the only organization that will survive the end of this wicked system of things.” Watchtower 2007 Dec 15 p.14
              “They must appreciate that identifying themselves with Jehovahs organization is essential to their salvation.” Kingdom Ministry 1990 Nov p.1

              I asked what about before you formed this organization?

              “And while now the witness yet includes the invitation to come to Jehovahs organization for salvation, the time no doubt will come when the message takes on a harder tone, like a “great war cry.”” Watchtower 1981 Nov 15 p.21
              “They must appreciate that identifying themselves with Jehovahs organization is essential to their salvation.” Kingdom Ministry 1990 Nov p.1 .
              I said the Bible says salvation is thru Christ.

              Theocratic Warfare Strategy = ***w07 2/1 p.6***
              Every lie is an untruth, but not every untruth is a lie. Why not? A dictionary defines a lie as “an assertion of something known or believed by the speaker to be untrue with intent to deceive.” Yes, lying includes the intention to deceive someone. Hence, to speak an untruth unwittingly—such as giving someone incorrect facts or figures by mistake—is not the same as to tell a lie.

              I questioned this statement after the elders and society presented a letter in court that they knew to be a lie and one elder broke down and confessed to everything written being a lie.
              So like Br. Woodworth’s day they are still pulling tactics that a corporation pulls and not a truthful person of God.

        • Peter K. (admin)

          Anonymous – I did get some more information about Br. Norman Woodworth and the Dawn. Yes, you are correct that Rutherford got the idea of not celebrating Christmas from Br. Norman Woodworth.

          ————

          Here is what Br Ken Rawson said. He is an elder over 80 years old who new many contemporaries of brothers Russell and Rutherford.

          “Br. Norman Woodworth was never an elder of the Chicago Bible Students. He was not related to Clayton Woodworth. Clayton W. and his wife were a young married couple when they came into the truth in the U.S.. In fact there is letter/article about this on Reprint page R.1830.
          Norman W. as a boy was raised in the Truth in Nova Scotia and became a full time colporteur at age 18. He came to the U.S. to be at Bethel between 1912 and 1914. In about 1927 Norman W. gave a talk at Bethel condemning celebrating Christmas as pagan worship. The brethren were shocked.
          But Judge Rutherford liked it and from that time on Rutherford forbid the celebrating of Christmas.

          Fast forward to 1947 when I went to the Dawn to work for ten years. Br. Woodworth always had the Dawn workers over at his home on Christmas Day. He always led a discussion, but never mentioned the word Christmas. No one else at the Dawn had a problem with the word Christmas.

          Br. Woodworth was an example of full consecration. I thank the Lord that his consecrated life touched mine and I am the better for it.

          Br. Ken”

          —————‘

          Here is a response to me from the president of the Dawn

          “Dear Bro. Peter .
          Was Br. Woodworth ever an elder in the Chicago class.? The answer is ,No

          Was his cousin Clayton Woodworth? No .

          Was he against celebrating Christmas? No

          Did the Dawn always celebrate Christmas? No We are always closed for the HOLIDAYS SO THAT THE FAMILIES CAN BE FREE. We do have a yearly dinner for the staff and outsiders who volunteer for the work at the Dawn.”

          • Anomymous

            Thank you for confirming my previous statements and what Br. Franz had said about Norman’s talk was correct.
            So why don’t you draw Norman Woodworth as you drew J.Rutherford as a “Grinch”? So sorry, I don’t want to be disrespectful for the memory of any man, but I really consider the closing of this article as very offensive and if we look for jusice , then we should do the same for Norman Woodworth who rejected Christmas as well.Or you should add this fact to the above article at the very least.
            Anyway, I really approve of what Norman Woodworth did on that occasion (of giving a talk against Christmas)
            As for if he was the cousin of Clayton, we have many other testimonies to that(although it’s true that Br.Franz didn’t mention it)Look what Wiki says
            “In 1928, Norman Woodworth, cousin of Clayton J. Woodworth, left the Watch Tower Society after having been in charge of their radio ministry. Woodworth created an independent Bible Students radio program called Frank and Ernest.[68]” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_Student_movement)
            Rolando Rodriguez who worked at the Dawn (an ex JW) said “C.J.(that is Clayton), I have been told was the cousin of Norman Woodworth, who created the “Frank and Earnest” radio program in the early 1920s for the WTS. He left in 1928, and took the radio program with him, which is still aired today throughout the world in various languages. Norman, formed the DAWN Bible Students Association in 1932, while his cousin C.J. stayed with the Society living at bethel. til his death in the 1950s. ( Excuse any typos, below . I have scanned ALL the convention reports 1904-1919)
            Here is the link
            http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/topic/121107/case-c-j-woodowrth-demon-possession
            So,it seems that the Dawnites have a disagreement here..One says that Norman was not Clayton’s cousin, the other says he was.
            Also,I think I had something wrong, I didn’t mean Chicago Bible Students but as Br Franz said Norman, “was also a member of the Brooklyn congregation and an elder thereof” so, he was an elder in Brooklyn, not Chicago, so this is a correction of my words.
            Now , it seems you condradict your sources again,you mentioned the words “In about 1927 Norman W. gave a talk at Bethel condemning celebrating Christmas as pagan worship” and then the director of the Dawn asks “Was he against celebrating Christmas? No”
            So…he condemned them by a fiery sermon, but he was not against them…
            No comments.

            • Jacqueline

              Anonymous I found this:
              Yearbook 1975 p.147
              “What caused the Bible Students to stop celebrating Christmas? Richard H. Barber gave this answer: “I was asked to give an hour talk over a [radio] hookup on the subject of Christmas. It was given December 12, 1928, and published in The Golden Age #241 and again a year later in #268. That talk pointed out the pagan origin of Christmas. After that, the brothers at Bethel never celebrated Christmas again.

            • Peter K. (admin)

              Anonymous – Thanks. Does it matter whether Clayton and Norman were related? The difference between Norman Woodworth and Judge Rutherford, is that Norman was okay with each person following their own conscience. He did not force Bible Students to not celebrate.

              • Jacqueline

                Br. Peter this is what is said here in agreement with following conscience:

                Watchtower April 1, 1920, pp.100, 101
                We would not refuse to treat one as a brother because he did not believe the Society is the Lord’s channel. If others see it in a different way, that is their privilege. There should be full liberty of conscience.

              • Anomymous

                Nice we agree. No, it doesn’t matter if he was cousin or not of Clayton Woodworth, but if we want to be historically accurate we can mention it. Moreover, the above article can mention about Norman’s attitude on Christmas.
                I also believe the Society overemphasised Richard H. Barber because Norman was disfellowshiped. But Norman was the first who opposed Christmas.

                • Peter K. (admin)

                  Anonymous – If I understand you correctly, I think you want me to add to the article that Br. Norman Woodworth is the one responsible for preventing millions of JW children from having the joy and excitement of opening presents and celebrating Jesus’ birth on the morning of December 25 each year. Is that correct?

                  • A Monotheistic Christian

                    So after all this discussion, why is the article still up with misleading information? JW’s do not like being lied to, so why would blame JFR for the removal of Christmas from Bible Students lives? Woodworth brought up the issue, presented the problems and Watch Tower acted. This should be a “Thank You Brother Woodworth” article.

                    • Peter K. (admin)

                      A Monotheistic Christian – Please explain specifically what I said that you think was a lie.

                      JFR did not remove Christmas from the lives of Bible Students. He did so to JWs.

                      As I noted, the president of the Dawn said that Br. Woodworth was not against celebrating Christmas. [I believe he meant, not against others celebrating Christmas.] So even if he continued to hold his original view, he never pushed it on other Bible Students.

                      Now what was my lie??? I was honest enough to present evidence confirming that Br. Norman Woodworth spoke against celebrating Christmas in 1926. Some of you are completely baffled by the concept of Christian liberty.

                    • Anomymous

                      A Monotheistic Christian- Thank you for mentioning your view.They admitted we were right by telling then that it was Norman Woodworth, who started all this. That’s what we needed,I will post this in my blog and comment.The above article is not historically accurate.
                      Thank you.

                    • Jacqueline

                      It seems various persons want to take credit for this Christ dishonoring practice but Rutherford ran the show and made the decision to eliminate Christmas. He was boss, Yearbook 1975 p.147
                      “What caused the Bible Students to stop celebrating Christmas? Richard H. Barber gave this answer: “I was asked to give an hour talk over a [radio] hookup on the subject of Christmas. It was given December 12, 1928, and published in The Golden Age #241 and again a year later in #268. That talk pointed out the pagan origin of Christmas. After that, the brothers at Bethel never celebrated Christmas again.
                      After Rutherford said so I am sure, that is the way it was run at that time. Secretaries write the letter but the boss gets the credit. That should not be so difficult to understand.

                  • Anomymous

                    No, what I ask this.Instead of accusing all the time Br.Rutherford of doing this or that, because you obviously don’t like him, just be honest and say that Norman Woodworth, the founder of the Dawn was responsible for the prohibition of Christmas too. As you see, even Br.Frederick Franz supported Christmas, and even J.Rutherford was celebrating when Woodworth stayed away(and he did the right thing) from all this.
                    Why omitting an important information such as that?Maybe Woodworth didn’t prevent others from celebrating Christmas, but he clearly would rather for them not to participate. That’s why he did that “No Christmas” sermon. That’s why also, the brethren were astonished hearing these things, if they didn’t feel any pressure they wouldn’t be shocked!
                    So, we should stay faithful to historical accuracy, and try not to pollute the memory of any man,not Rutherford, not Woodworth.They did the right thing.
                    As for the children, they can have joy some other time of the year.

          • Brettstone

            Peter-
            Just curious! Why the Dawn Bible Students web site is not located in the section “Bible Student Websites”
            I subscribed to the Dawn and love their monthly magazine not to mention my favorite is the “Frank and Ernest” radio program. What a blessing that radio program is.

            • Peter K. (admin)

              Bretstone- Under audio we link to the Dawn Frank and Earnest radio. Under video we link to the Dawn Bible Answers Television program. There are a few articles that link to booklets on the Dawn website.

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