Is the Bible Opposed to Celebration of Birthdays?
Just found this recent reference regarding "pagan rituals" that might be ok now. Awake, 12/15/2005 p18. The article is about Russian Blini, more than just pancakes. According to the article, "the ancient Slavs used blini for food sacrifices in their pagan rituals and saw in blini an appropriate symbol of the round, warm, golden sun." The article then goes on to give the recipe, how to make them and serve them. If these were once used for pagan rituals, how can a JW possibly think it would be ok to eat them today? What about hot cross buns? If our motive in doing anything is not to use in wrong worship, or not to use as originally intended, what harm would there be? Just a thought.
This was recently discussed in another thread. So I decided to copy and paste what comment I had made there, as someone may benefit from the info as well. Thank you for bringing it up again.
Good Morning All and Happy Tuesday,
Most everyone knows that Jehovahs Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays. The reason is that there are two examples given in the Bible of birthdays and bad things happened both times. Since the Bible was recorded for us, we must take that to mean that we should shun the celebration of them. The claim is also used that early Christians did not celebrate birthdays and we follow their example. We would not want to put anyone on a pedistal for honor and glory.
Now.. are these claims really true? You be the judge...
1. True, there were two incidents that someone died at birthdays. Yet, if you read the accounts, the events recorded were not focused on the birthdays. If you gave the passages for someone to read what would be the gist of the passage? Was it really about the birthday? Or rather was it about everything else that was going on in the story. If you re-read the accounts without thinking "Birthday", you may see there is much more to these passages. And it was recorded for a much deeper reason.
2. False, there are not just two birthdays recorded in the Bible, there are three! The greatest birth of all isn't even thought of when Witnesses think of birthdays in the Bible. How about the birth of Christ Jesus? The angels in the heavens cried out with joy. I am sure there was a great celebration of his birth in the heavens. Why would it be ok to celebrate and be over come with joy at such a wonderful event, then only 1 year later pretend like we don't remember it at all? See The Greatest Man book- 1991 pag. 5.
What an important night this is! Out in the fields a bright light gleams around a group of shepherds. It is Jehovah’s glory! And Jehovah’s angel tells them: "Have no fear, for, look! I am declaring to you good news of a great joy that all the people will have, because there was born to you today a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in David’s city. And this is a sign for you: you will find an infant bound in cloth bands and lying in a manger." Suddenly many more angels appear and sing: "Glory in the heights above to God, and upon earth peace among men of goodwill."
When the angels leave, the shepherds say to one another: "Let us by all means go clear to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which Jehovah has made known to us." They go in a hurry and find Jesus just where the angel said they would. When the shepherds relate what the angel told them, all who hear about it marvel. Mary safeguards all these sayings and cherishes them in her heart.
3. False, Job was a perfect example of one who was favored by God, yet he was honoring his childrens birthdays. Infact, the Bible says he was blameless and upright in God's eyes. See-Job 1:4:
1There happened to be a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man proved to be blameless and upright, and fearing God and turning aside from bad. 2 And seven sons and three daughters came to be born to him. 3 And his livestock got to be seven thousand sheep and three thousand camels and five hundred spans of cattle and five hundred she-asses, along with a very large body of servants; and that man came to be the greatest of all the Orientals.
4And his sons went and held a banquet at the house of each one on his own day; and they sent and invited their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 And it would occur that when the banquet days had gone round the circuit, Job would send and sanctify them; and he got up early in the morning and offered up burnt sacrifices according to the number of all of them; for, said Job, "maybe my sons have sinned and have cursed God in their heart." That is the way Job would do always.
4. What about the Societys view on the Pinata? It has religious and "pagan" roots. Yet see here what the Society feels about using them today. Are they wrong now because it was once a pagan custom? See for yourself in the September 22, 2003 Awake, page 22.
Later, the piñata became part of the festivities of the posadas during the Christmas season and continues as such to this day. (A star-shaped piñata is used to represent the star that guided the astrologers to Bethlehem.) Breaking the piñata is also considered indispensable at birthday parties. Indeed, piñatas have become so traditionally Mexican that Mexico even exports them to other countries.
We found that for many people in Mexico, the piñata has lost its religious significance and is considered by most to be just harmless fun. In fact, piñatas are used in Mexico on many festive occasions, not just for the posadas or for birthdays. And piñatas can be purchased in many forms other than the traditional star shape. They are sometimes made to resemble animals, flowers, clowns.
When considering whether to include a piñata at a social gathering, Christians should be sensitive to the consciences of others. (1 Corinthians 10:31-33) A main concern is, not what the practice meant hundreds of years ago, but how it is viewed today in your area. Understandably, opinions may vary from one place to another. Hence, it is wise to avoid turning such matters into big issues. The Bible says: "Let each one keep seeking, not his own advantage, but that of the other person."—1 Corinthians 10:24.
So in conclusion, when a person allows themselves to weigh all of this out, are Birthdays really wrong for true Christians today? It sure makes you think again doesn't it?