As a Christian, I wanted to invite our Jehovah’s Witness neighbours to Thanksgiving dinner at our house. I approached the dad to extend him the invitation.
The guy politely declined and told me it’s because it goes against his beliefs. I invited him to my house so he could tell me why Thanksgiving is considered wrong by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Our lengthy discussion helped me get answers to the question; do Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrate Thanksgiving?
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate Thanksgiving because they view it as a secular holiday that contradicts scripture. According to the Watchtower’s interpretation of the Bible, people should give thanks daily. Second, Thanksgiving is a federal holiday, meaning the government invented the holiday. Witnesses do not believe in man-made holidays.
In this article, we will discuss Jehovah’s Witnesses’ views on the Thanksgiving holidays. Keep reading to learn why they don’t partake in this holiday, and what activity they do instead.
Should Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrate Thanksgiving?
No. Jehovah’s Witness beliefs prohibit members from celebrating Thanksgiving. According to this religion, celebrating such holidays is wrong.
Witnesses fall back on scriptures like 1st Thessalonians 5:18 as the reason they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving: “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
According to this Bible verse, giving thanks should be a continuous process that every human being should do.
Setting aside one day is not the right way to do it based on Jehovah’s Witness teachings.
Witnesses argue that in 1st Corinthians 1:4, the apostle Paul said that he “always” gives thanks to God for His limitless grace that Christians receive through Jesus: “I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.”
Consequently, this unique Christian group teaches that true Christians should live a life of gratitude and modesty.
During Thanksgiving, people tend to over-indulge in food and alcohol. This does not align with the principles of the Watchtower’s teachings.
Witnesses believe in leading simple lives devoid of excesses. A moderate intake of alcohol and a nice meal is acceptable to Jehovah’s Witnesses.
That is based on their interpretation of scriptures like Psalms 104:15: “wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts.”
Witnesses associate Thanksgiving holidays with gluttony. With scriptures like Proverbs 23:20-21 discouraging the company of gluttons and drunkards, it is easy to see why Jehovah’s Witnesses do not accept Thanksgiving dinner invitations: “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.”
Another reason is that they strictly adhere to the wise counsel in Proverbs 25:16: “If you find honey, eat just enough—too much of it, and you will vomit.”
In this scripture, the Bible teaches that one should only eat enough and nothing more.
Overeating is uncouth and bad for your health.
Why don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrate Thanksgiving?
So, celebrating a federal holiday like Thanksgiving is out of the question for Jehovah’s Witnesses. As you will learn later, they would rather spend their free time evangelizing.
Jehovah’s Witnesses forbid worldly social norms and political structures of all kinds. A great example of their firm convictions against politics is the refusal to participate in voting.
Jehovah’s Witnesses normally stay out of political activities. Therefore, they don’t celebrate any civil holidays. This religion believes that the end of the world is incredibly near and that worldly governments are not built on the right foundation.
Participating in Thanksgiving celebrations is considered a sign that you agree with the federal government. Jehovah’s Witnesses strive to do the opposite, especially during national holidays.
What happens if a Jehovah’s Witness celebrates Thanksgiving?
As a Jehovah’s Witness, openly celebrating Thanksgiving is seen as a blatant disregard of the Biblical scriptures about gluttony.
If a Witness finds themselves in a Thanksgiving celebration against their wishes, they can repent and return to obeying the Witness.
That said, people who repeatedly and deliberately break the Watchtower’s rules by celebrating Thanksgiving are viewed as sinners. Failure to change causes one to face a disciplinary committee of elders.
These people decide if you should face disfellowshipping which ends in the shunning of the offender.
What do Jehovah’s Witnesses do on Thanksgiving?
Instead of joining in the Thanksgiving festivities, Jehovah’s Witnesses Take those days to increase the intensity of door-to-door ministry.
Witness family members who are not attending work are required to participate in evangelism as a way to counter the celebration of secular holidays all over the world.
During similar holidays, Jehovah’s Witnesses take the door-to-door ministry a notch higher. Families even involve their children in the activity.
Witnesses see such holidays as the ideal time to give your all to ministry before you resume the normal work routine.
As a theologian, I have always been curious to learn more about the Christian Faith. That is why I pursued a Certificate in Christian Studies, Certificate in Christian Foundations and a Masters in Theology. I also have an immersive experience in editing for numerous websites. I have worked as an editor for over a decade and am currently the editor-in-chief at Christian Faith Guide. I enjoy working as an editor and feel privileged to share my expertise and help spread God’s word. You can read more about me on the about us page.