Celebrating anything should be a choice. I choose to celebrate because I think life needs joy. I also saw how not celebrating served to isolate my children from their peers. Birthdays and christmas does not have to be onerous or all about lots of presents it is about telling someone else that they are important to you and that you are glad they are in your life.
Birthdays & Christmas
And what is the big deal of the witlesses criticizing people who choose to celebrate Christmas and birthdays? If it was truly up to the individual, there would be so much less of this problem. You would be able to simply not participate without worrying about whether you enjoy the Christmas lights, music, and whatever else comes with the season. You could simply treat holiday music as you would the snow--something you accept as part of the season. Whether you participate or not, that's up to you. And there would be so much less of an issue at work--if you are asked to put up a Christmas display for work, you could do so as part of your job. Your company, through you, is participating. No shame or guilt.
And, it would be one less thing for children to be afraid of. Do you want them to be dorks because they can't accept a damn cupcake at school? Or because they had to refuse to draw pictures of Santa or place decorations on the school Christmas tree? They are led to be afraid of all things associated with Christmas, to dread it. Instead, they could be allowed to participate even if the parents no longer wish to. At worst, it would be accepted much as snow is with winter (something you tolerate because you really don't have much choice; something that's there and you don't worry about). Not to mention, how many children end up getting Christmas presents or a birthday party at school simply because people think it will bother them? Or, they have to decline them because of their religion? It's one thing if they choose not to participate in a drawing or give something. But, when someone randomly gives them a Christmas present, it is only sensible to accept it without having to make a fuss about it.
I criticise JWs for it because it is a fundamental part of their underlying ethos. Deny pleasure and replace with fearful devotion. Taking small, normally happy parties and times of celebration , pauses in the daily routine of survival if you will, and replacing them with an anti social, avoid reminding people that they are special and individual and are part of a loving circle of friends and family, attitude and calling that righteous is simply stupid and deserves all the criticism that can be heaped on it. No wonder the JWs I knew at school were loners and found it difficult to participate in group learning. Poor kids.
Qcmbr - well said. It captures my thoughts exactly - and those of so many others. To think about the intensity - and waste - of the JW judgements against those who dare choose to celebrate someone else's birthday or who try to spread some happiness by remembering the day loved ones were born.
I have no issues with JW's criticizing Christmas since they do not accept the date ot any of the tradtions asociated with Christmas ( right or wrong is nothe point), I do criticize them not celebrating birthdays since they celebrate anniversaries which are bascially the same thing.
I do criticize them not celebrating birthdays since they celebrate anniversaries which are bascially the same thing.
Me too. Wedding anniversaries - which the Watchtower does not frown upon - are simply "birthdays" of marriages. All the usual arguments they marshall against birthdays - of pagan origin, early Christians did not celebrate them, glorifies humans rather than God, do not need a special day to show love, etc - could be marshalled against anniversaries.
The Bible doesn't condemn birthdays. The Bible repeatedly "keeps track" of people's ages.
"One indeed judges a day above another day; and another one judges every day alike. Let each one be fully assured in his own mind. The one minding the day, he minds it to the Lord. And the one not minding the day, he does not mind it to the Lord. The one eating, he eats to the Lord; for he gives thanks to God. And the one not eating, he does not eat to the Lord, and gives thanks to God." (Rom 14:5-6)
Job celebrated birthdays. Job 1:4
The deaths that did occur at a birthday party were not becuase of the birthday party. The party was the venue, not the cause. In fact, Jehovah predicted the deaths would occur.
"Regarding Pharaoh's birthday, there is nothing explicit linking birthday celebrations in general to "cruel acts." Naturally, occasions for celebration can provide an outlet for excessive or immoral acts. But in this case the "cruel acts" against the chief cupbearers and the chief of the bakers were in fulfillment of the dreams interpreted by Joseph. It is similar with Herod's birthday celebration. The account in Matthew does not say that John was beheaded because of Herod's birthday celebration. Rather, he was beheaded because of the request of Herodias and her daughter, and Herod's oath to her. Indeed, there is nothing in Matthew's account that explicitly states that John's head was brought to the birthday celebration at all. It only says that his head was "given to the maiden, and she brought it to her mother" (Matthew 14:11). The presentation may have occurred at the celebration, but as with the account in Genesis 40 there is nothing tying such an act to birthdays in general." ." ( Greg Stafford, Three Dissertations on the Teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses, pp. 208-209 ).
And, the simple fact is that EVERY parent keeps track of fond rememberence of the day their child was born.
And, the more pungent fact that my JW RELATIVES all send birthday presents and expect birthday presents (and 'Holiday') presents. LOL.