While today, the Christmas holiday is not celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses, this was not always the case.
From the Watch Tower Society’s founding up to the 1930’s, Christmas was not viewed as a pagan holiday and was celebrated. Even back then, the cross was not viewed as a pagan symbol as it is now and the symbol of the cross appeared on every issue of the Watch Tower magazine up to October 15, 1931.
Below are two photographs. The first is a photograph of the Watch Tower headquarters staff celebrating Christmas in the Brooklyn Bethel dining room in 1926. J.F. Rutherford sits at the head of the table. The second photograph is of a January 1, 1931 Watch Tower magazine. Notice the symbol of the cross in the upper left corner.
1926 Christmas Celebration In Bethel
October 15, 1931 Issue of the Watchtower Magazine – Notice the Symbol of the Cross In the Upper-Left Corner.
The point of this short article is not to express,”See, Jehovah’s Witnesses did celebrate Christmas or believed in the cross.” No, but rather to show that error can be taught as truth.
At one point in it’s history, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society thought the Christmas celebration, the cross, and even smoking were OK. In many places in the Southern United States – and for quite some time – the congregations were segregated. African Americans did not sit alongside Whites and they did not use the same washroom facilities. Of course, today, that is not the case.
It stands to reason, then, that some of what is believed to be true by the Watch Tower organization today could also be in error.
I believe the 1914 date, a date that many teachings of the Watch Tower organization hinge on to be in error. Please read my article 1914: A Hope Deferred to learn why. What a devastating thing it would be to the Watch Tower Organization to learn that this date is an error. I also believe that the Watch Tower organization leadership already know this but it is not something that they are willing to retract as it would cause a massive migration from the organization as a result of a loss of faith in the organization. (Faith should not be in an organization in the first place, but in God and Christ)
Most Jehovah’s Witnesses are not aware that the 1914 date did not originate with the Watch Tower organization. The date borrowed and adopted by the Watch Tower Organization founder, Charles Taze Russell, who became a Second Adventist and contributing editor of their Herald of the Morning magazine. The 1914 date originated with a man by the name of John Aquila Brown – an Englishman – in 1823, twenty-nine years before C.T. Russell was born and forty-seven years before Russell started his Bible study group. See article 1914: A Hope Deferred.
It is important that we apply the counsel given at 1 John 4:1:
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Such examination and testing of expressions and utterances claiming to be inspired by God, does not exclude the Watch Tower organization or any human or human agency.