Part One: Is Christmas Pagan?

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

Chris: Joe can you explain to me why Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas?

Joe: Sure, Chris. Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas because we do not participate in pagan celebrations, and we know that Jesus was not born on December 25.

Chris: Why do you call Christmas a pagan celebration? Certainly celebrating God's gift of his son would not qualify as a pagan celebration.

Joe: December 25 is the date of the winter solstice and Christmas originated at a time when the cult of the sun was strong at Rome.

Chris: So what you are saying is that Christians celebrated a pagan celebration and just continued to do so by changing its name.

Joe: That's right, Chris.

Chris: Were you aware that this is not what the Watchtower originally taught was the origin of Christmas?

Joe: What do you mean?

Chris: In The Time is at Hand, Vol. 2 of the Studies in the Scriptures on page 61 it discusses the date of the birth of Christ. 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." Joe, the Watchtower at one time agreed with Church history that the origin of Christmas was the celebration of the gift of God's son from his conception. Just because this conception happened around a pagan celebration does not make it pagan. If celebrating the gift of God's son is so wrong, how come God allowed the celebration for so long before the Watchtower ever declared it wrong?

Joe: I know that the Watchtower used to celebrate Christmas but when they learned that it was tied into paganism, they stopped celebrating it.

Chris: In the December 15, 1903 Watchtower, Charles Russell wrote concerning Christmas that even though he did not agree with the date which he said wasn't important, he said "..we may properly enough join with all whose hearts are in the attitude of love and appreciation toward God and toward the Saviour." Both Charles Russell and Joseph Rutherford your first and second presidents celebrated Christmas and even encouraged others to participate in the celebration and to give Watchtower books as gifts. All this was at a time when the Watchtower says that Jesus was inspecting all churches to see which he would pick as the only "faithful and wise servant". How is it that celebrating the gift of God's son was alright back then but now is such a bad thing that a person can lose his everlasting life? How is it that God allowed Christians for almost two thousand years to honor the gift of his Son and then suddenly changed his mind?

Joe: I'm not sure how to answer you. I know that I used to celebrate Christmas as a small child before my family became Witnesses and I never thought it was wrong then. But now I have learned things like the wise men were dupes of Satan, led by a Satanic star. The whole Christmas scene was led by Satan not God.

Chris: I would be interested in talking with you about the star of Bethlehem and the wise men. Could we get together next week to discuss this?

Joe: Sure.

Go to part two: Is the Star of Bethlehem Satan's star?

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