That was a statement included in Ruth’s profile when she joined our worldwide support group in November of 2010. She had been one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for 36 years leaving behind six brothers and sisters still in the organization. Though she has been out now for over 20 years, Ruth echoes the words of many who were raised under the Watchtower rules in saying,
“unless you have been in this situation you have no idea what it is like. You have to reprogram your entire thinking.”
One of those rules growing up concerned the restriction of celebrating any holidays. It can be very awkward for those raised in the organization to know how to respond to this time of year.
For example, when asked to share a Christmas memory, most people would probably call to mind the excitement of their childhood, but it’s understood among former Jehovah’s Witnesses that our memories involve having to decline party invitations and going without the usual food and festivities associated with this holiday. There are no happy memories to share about this holiday.
To further complicate this, the shunning policy of the Watchtower Society has ensured that those who leave the religion are without family not only at Christmas but the entire year. Can you see why it is so difficult for ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses to socialize with others who share their holiday memories and plans to gather with loved ones?
But in keeping with our support group’s goal to focus on the positives in leaving the Watchtower, Ruth oddly enough was able to put into words her child-like experience when asked to share her most memorial Christmas . Many of us on the Meetup found it encouraging and I know you will be blessed too!
MY MOST MEMORABLE CHRISTMAS
The Christmas tree was all lit up
Presents placed beneath in fine array
The excitement I felt well within
Leaves memories to this very day
Although I wasn’t a small Child
I stood with wonderment and joy
This was to be my first Christmas
I was like a Child with a new toy
I’d never celebrated the Lord’s Day before
As I’d grown up not to believe in it
There was no conformity to stop me now
I was born again and filled with the Spirit
My emotions heightened as the day approached
And I thought of our Saviour on that special day
As I celebrated with my Family and Friends
I’m so glad I’m a Child of the King today
He has turned my mourning into dancing
And given life new meaning and hope
As I live for him every day of my life
When throughout the years I couldn’t cope
So every year as the Christmas season begins
It brings back memories of that special time
When I saw Christmas through a Child’s eyes
While I was still young and in my prime
~ Ruth Annette Condoleon, Australia
Merry Christmas and Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie