Two weeks ago, a congregant approached me after our weekly prayer fellowship and explained that one of her new colleagues at work was a Jehovah’s Witness.
She wanted to know if she should invite him to their annual Christmas fun day, which they were organizing since she wasn’t sure if Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrate it.
Our conversation made me realize that there are possibly more Christians out there struggling with the same. Based on my theological experience and extensive knowledge of their doctrines, I have written this article to explore the topic, ‘Do Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrate Christmas?’
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas. Although they acknowledge that Jesus was born and lived a human life, they refuse to celebrate his birth on account of it not being a Christ-sanctioned holiday. They also believe that the festivities are rooted in Paganism and other sinful practices.
In this article, I will discuss the Jehovah’s Witness stance on Christmas celebrations. Read on to find out more.
Should Jehovah’s Witness Celebrate Christmas?
No, Jehovah’s Witnesses should not celebrate Christmas. According to Jehovah’s Witness experts, a faithful should only observe celebrations and holidays instituted or sanctioned by Jehovah in the scriptures.
According to them, Jesus asked the disciples to commemorate his death in Luke 22:19-20, but there’s nowhere in scripture where he spoke of his birth: “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.'”
Furthermore, the disciples and apostles never celebrated Christmas throughout scripture. Therefore, Jehovah’s Witnesses only celebrate holidays that align with what Jehovah requires of them.
Why don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrate Christmas?
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas as it is not in the scriptures and, therefore, not in line with Jehovah’s teachings.
They point to the fact that throughout the lives of the apostles and the twelve disciples, Jesus’ birth was never celebrated among them and that the actual date of Christ’s birth is unknown.
They seek only to celebrate holidays that are Christ-sanctioned and that honour God, such as the death of Christ.
According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, the celebration of Christmas is rooted in Paganism. They argue that the timeline of the festive season coincides with the dates of the sun worship celebrations.
They imply this goes against scriptural teachings in Matthew 4:10, which ask us to worship God and serve only Him: “Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'”
They also suggest that the celebration of birthdays is a Pagan custom.
Additionally, some practices and objects used in Christmas celebrations are associated with otherworldly religions.
One of the major doctrines in Jehovah’s Witness is that they should separate themselves from worldly practices and beliefs as that would hinder them from seeing the kingdom of heaven.
Things such as the mistletoe, Christmas trees and lights, Santa Claus, and the habit of merry-making are implied to be symbolic of other holidays too, such as the Winter solstice, the Kwanzaa celebrations and sun worship.
Jehovah’s Witnesses argue that Christmas celebrations promote many sinful practices.
According to them, the merry-making, indecent dressing and drunkenness associated with the festivities take away from the righteousness that Christ taught to all his followers.
They also suggest that the gift-giving surrounding this holiday makes it a celebration of each other instead of worshipping the son of God.
What happens if a Jehovah’s Witness celebrates Christmas?
Although there is no clearly stated consequence of celebrating Christmas as a Jehovah’s Witness, the denomination is known for its severe shunning and excommunication practice against those who offend the church’s beliefs.
They argue that scripture in 1 Corinthians 5:13 instructs us to expel those who are evil and not to interact with them: “God will judge those outside. ‘Expel the wicked person from among you.'”
Suppose a Jehovah’s Witness repeatedly fails to adhere to the doctrines and practices set out for them by mingling with worldly people and participating in their customs.
In that case, they may be disfellowshipped by the church and shunned by fellow believers.
Can Jehovah’s Witnesses say ‘merry Christmas’?
Since Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas, it is uncommon for them to use this popular greeting. Saying ‘merry Christmas’ goes against their practices and beliefs, so they try to avoid it.
If you live near a Jehovah’s Witness or have one among your family members, you can extend the holiday cheer to them using other variations of the greeting, which do not directly touch on Christmas.
These include: ‘happy holidays’, ‘season’s greetings’, and ‘wishing you peace and joy this season’.
According to Romans 14:5-9, believers ought to respect each other’s beliefs and practices, as long as each is fully convinced in their practices.
Based on this scripture, we should avoid offending each other despite our diverse religious affiliations.
As a Christian, I have always been passionate about sharing God’s word with young people. This inspired me to pursue a Certificate in Christian Education, an Undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, and a Graduate degree in Theology. My knowledge in school and experience from dealing with the youth made me an expert at discussing Christian-related topics. I feel privileged working as the Coordinator of the Christian Youth Ministry at Christian Faith Guide. You can read more about me on the about us page.