Questions From Readers
● What stand should children of dedicated Christian parents take in regard to their school’s holiday art activities? What about the Christmas program with its singing of Christmas songs? What about schoolroom birthday celebrations?—M. C., United States.
During a holiday season all students in a school classroom may be required to color or draw pictures relating to that particular holiday. It is part of a classroom assignment, and by simply drawing or coloring the pictures the young student is not indicating that he is commemorating the holiday or is viewing it as of any importance. He is only fulfilling a school assignment, and his skill is being tested and trained. So, since it is a matter of skill and a classroom assignment, the child of dedicated parents may fulfill such an assignment.
However, taking part in holiday parties or celebrations, which are not educational but primarily recreational, is something else. Such holidays as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day and Easter have their roots in paganism. The Christian Greek Scripture writers do not mention any of such celebrations. Regarding them the words of the apostle Paul apply: “I say that the things which the nations sacrifice they sacrifice to demons, and not to God, and I do not want you to become sharers with the demons. You cannot be drinking the cup of Jehovah and the cup of demons; you cannot be partaking of ‘the table of Jehovah’ and the table of demons. Or ‘are we inciting Jehovah to jealousy’? We are not stronger than he is, are we?” “What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever? And what agreement does God’s temple have with idols?”—1 Cor. 10:20-22; 2 Cor. 6:15, 16.
As for birthday celebrations. It is indeed singular, to say the least, that although we have record of birthdays being celebrated as far back as ancient Egypt, we do not know the birthday of Jesus or of any of his apostles. Clearly, the implication is that Jehovah God does not want us to celebrate any of these birthdays, or he would have had them recorded. In his Word only two birthday celebrations are mentioned, both of godless kings, and in each instance an execution was involved: of Pharaoh’s chief baker and of John the Baptist. (Gen. 40:20-22; Matt. 14:6-10) Even the Jews in those days “regarded birthday celebrations as part of idolatrous worship,” and this, no doubt, “on account of the idolatrous rites with which they were observed in honor of those who were regarded as the patron gods of the day on which the party was born.”—McClintock & Strong’s Cyclopœdia.
Children of dedicated Christian parents should therefore not take part in celebrating such holidays or birthdays. This would include nationalistic holidays as well as those partly or wholly of pagan origin. The children themselves can present these facts to their schoolteachers; by their thus witnessing they show that they have firm Christian convictions though young in years. But if the children are unable to do so properly, then, by all means, one of their parents should arrange to have them excused on the principle of conscience and freedom of worship.—Ps. 8:2; Prov. 22:6.