Jehovah wants us to enjoy life and even to celebrate at times. But do all celebrations and holidays please him? How can we show our love for Jehovah in this matter?
1. Why do many celebrations displease Jehovah?
You might be surprised to learn that many celebrations are based on unscriptural teachings or have pagan origins. Such celebrations may be connected with false religion. They may be linked to spiritism or be based on the idea that the soul is immortal. Some celebrations are rooted in superstition or a belief in luck. (Isaiah 65:11) Jehovah warns his worshippers: “Separate yourselves . . . and quit touching the unclean thing.”—2 Corinthians 6:17.*
2. How does Jehovah feel about celebrations that give undue honor to humans?
Jehovah cautions us not to fall into the trap of putting our “trust in mere humans.” (Read Jeremiah 17:5.) Some holidays honor rulers or soldiers. Others celebrate national symbols or independence. (1 John 5:21) Still others promote political or social movements. How would Jehovah feel if we gave undue honor to a person or an organization, especially one that promoted ideas contrary to His purpose?
3. What behavior can make celebrations unacceptable?
The Bible condemns “overdrinking, wild parties, [and] drinking bouts.” (1 Peter 4:3) Some celebrations feature unrestrained and immoral behavior. To remain Jehovah’s friends, we need to stay far away from such moral uncleanness.
Find out how you can please Jehovah by making wise decisions about holidays and celebrations.
4. Reject celebrations that dishonor Jehovah
Read Ephesians 5:10, and then discuss these questions:
What do we need to make sure of when deciding whether to celebrate a holiday?
What holidays are popular where you live?
Do you think those holidays please Jehovah?
For example, have you ever wondered what God thinks of birthday celebrations? The Bible never refers to a worshipper of Jehovah celebrating a birthday, but it does record two birthdays celebrated by people who did not serve Him. Read Genesis 40:20-22 and Matthew 14:6-10. Then discuss these questions:
What do both birthday celebrations have in common?
Based on these Bible accounts, how do you think Jehovah feels about birthdays?
Still, you may wonder, ‘Does Jehovah really care whether I participate in a birthday or other unscriptural celebration?’ Read Exodus 32:1-8. Then, play the VIDEO and discuss the questions that follow.
Why do we need to make sure of what is acceptable to Jehovah?
How can we do so?
How to know if a celebration displeases God
Is it based on unscriptural teachings? To find out, investigate its origins.
Does it give undue honor to humans, organizations, or national symbols? We honor Jehovah above all and trust in him to solve the world’s problems.
Do its customs and practices conflict with Bible standards? We need to remain morally clean.
5. Help others to respect your beliefs
Read Matthew 7:12, and then discuss these questions:
Based on this verse, should you tell your unbelieving family members that they cannot celebrate a holiday?
What might you do to reassure your family that even though you will not celebrate with them, you love and appreciate them?
6. Jehovah wants us to be happy
Jehovah wants us to enjoy good times with our family and friends. Read Ecclesiastes 8:15, and then discuss this question:
How does this verse show that Jehovah wants us to be happy?
Jehovah wants his people to have fun and enjoy good times together. Play the VIDEO to see how this has been very evident at our international conventions.
Read Galatians 6:10, and then discuss these questions:
Do we need to celebrate popular holidays to do “what is good” to others?
What kind of giving would make you happier—feeling obligated to give on a holiday or giving spontaneously?
Many Witnesses occasionally organize something special for their children and even surprise them with gifts. If you have children, what are some special things that you could do for them?
SOME PEOPLE SAY: “A holiday’s origins don’t really matter. It’s about having a good time with family and friends.”
What would you say?
Jehovah wants us to enjoy time with family and friends. But he also wants us to avoid celebrations that displease him.
What questions can we ask to determine whether a celebration displeases Jehovah?
How can we help our family and friends to understand our decisions regarding holidays?
How do you know that Jehovah wants us to be happy and to have fun?
See Endnote 5 to learn how to handle certain holiday situations.