As a JW did you accept birthday/Christmas gifts? What is WTS policy?

by blondie 13 Replies latest jw friends

  • blondie

    Is it proper to accept gifts and not give them?

    *** w59 12/1 p. 736 Questions from Readers ***

    My husband and I are newly dedicated Witnesses. Our relatives are bitter over our having taken this stand. With the coming of Christmas and the customary giving of gifts, they will be antagonized still more because of our refusal to participate therein. Could you give us any pointers on this matter?—R. M., U. S. A.

    As dedicated Christians we are first of all concerned with pleasing Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. Secondly, we have the obligation to witness to our acquaintances, neighbors and relatives as opportunity affords. To the extent that we do this effectively they will get to understand how we feel about various matters. Especially will this be so if we mention where the New World society stands on the matter of holidays, personal, political and religious. We can make it clear that we hail Christ as King but deem it unfitting to stress his babyhood today. This we can do with freeness of speech, for we have the satisfaction of knowing that ours is the Scriptural position.

    Should we receive Christmas gifts, then what? It does not seem wise at such time to attack the institution of Christmas. Rather than refuse or return them, it would be better merely to express appreciation by word of mouth or letter or card; and, while wholly ignoring any reference to the holiday season, we could use the occasion to make some reference to our New World hope. It may even be advisable to wait until after the holiday season so as to further disassociate our expression of thanks from the pagan celebration.

    Nor need we feel apologetic for not also sending a gift at Christmas time although receiving one. In business relations Christmas merely happens to be a convenient occasion for employers to express appreciation for services rendered by means of a bonus. Persons who give merely because of expecting something in return have the wrong motive, one that the Scriptures condemn. (Luke 6:30-36) However, if we feel the impulse to give a gift we could wait until another appropriate occasion or time, and, incidentally, the same is true regarding birthday giving. But at no time should we feel obligated to give a gift because we received one. Also, it is well to remember that in living up to our dedication vows we are giving far more, to more deserving persons and with better motive, than do any Christmas givers. We are giving them the message that can lead them to life.—Matt. 10:8; John 17:3.

    But at no time should we feel obligated to give a gift because we received one.

    (Romans 3:23-25) For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24

    and it is as a free gift that they are being declared righteous by his undeserved kindness through the release by the ransom [paid] by Christ Jesus. 25 God set him forth as an offering for propitiation through faith in his blood. . . .

    (Romans 6:23) 23

    For the wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Mysterious

    My mother always told me it was ok to accept gifts and thank the person for them as long as you were aware that you didn't celebrate and they still wanted to give you something anyway. I remember feeling bad when people would say things like I know but I still wanted to get you something.

  • Woodsman

    This type of reasoning is typical. In a JW circle they would all nod and see that it can be rationalized but to outsiders it is ridiculous, or so I think. If Christmas were so Pagan and therefore Satanic that one could not in good conscience celebrate it then one should not celebrate it and that would include accepting Christmas gifts.

  • Woodsman

    Oh, to answer the question, NO it is not proper to accept gifts and nit give them. We should be givers in imatation of God.

    An example would be the JWs accepting the gift of blood products but not giving blood. Selfish, selfish, selfish.

  • lonelysheep

    Yes, and not without guilt.

  • carla

    Is it proper for a jw to ask relatives to not give them a gift?

  • serendipity

    I think it would be presumptuous to tell someone not to give a gift. It presumes that a gift was to be given.

  • Ingenuous

    My understanding was the same as Mysterious' - if you were offered a holiday/birthday present, you were to initially refuse and make it clear that as a JW you don't celebrate. If the giver insisted, you could accept. There was never any mention of sending a "thank you" card or other acknowledgement. I suppose that was an effort to discourage those bad ol' worldly people who thought enough of you to get you a gift from ever doing it again.

    I was never given a holiday/birthday present other than seasonal cards, but for some reason it was OK to accept those - as long as I threw them away when I got home.

    I keep all my cards now.

  • defd

    My wifes relatives would send them a month BEFORE our birthdays.


  • rebel8
    Is it proper for a jw to ask relatives to not give them a gift?

    Social etiquette does not allow people to request no gifts be given to them.

    When I was in the org it was standard procedure to specifically request gifts not be given to us, and to send them back when relatives give them. I remember the articles saying it was ok to accept them but my local cong, in WT NY state, said it would stumble others if we accepted gifts and you know you are "bloodguilty" if you stumble someone. We were instructed to ask employers to exclude us from holiday gifts too. Imagine our neighbors' surprise when we knocked on their door to return the fruit baskets they sent. HOW RUDE!!

    I had an elderly JW relative out of town who would send us XMas and birthday gifts and my heartless mother turned her into the elders. She actually had a JC when she was in her late '70s for sending us these gifts. (Of course she was JW and so were we, different scenario than the original question.)

    defd, If you are directly or indirectly endorsing the exchange of gifts near birthdays, a month early to let the givers know it is ok as long as it's early, how do you see that as complying with the rules?

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