What is Christmas to you? Do you have fond memories of family gatherings sharing recipes and gifts under the tree? For those who grew up in the Watchtower Society, there are no memories. Why would a parent withhold Christmas from their children? And what happens when that parent discovers the “reason for the season” themselves? For 30 years Sharon read the New World Translation of the Bible published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, but did not know her Savior. To her and the rest of Jehovah’s Witnesses the Bible taught that Jesus was not born in December and God was not pleased with us for celebrating His birth that month. When she left the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses, however, her eyes opened to the joy of the birth of her Savior and her own value as a precious new born creation as well. Sharon invites us to see Christmas through her eyes…
Christmas Through My Eyes by Sharon Leasure
In June of 1980 as I studied the Bible with my Jehovah’s Witness aunt I began to learn the evils of Christmas and why it should be a holiday to avoid. Unlike all the other holidays this was the hardest of all to give up. I knew I wanted to live on a Paradise earth for all eternity and would do what I had to so I could achieve this goal. I was convinced that because Jesus was not born in December it would be dishonoring Him to recognize His birth on that day.However it never entered my mind to ask why we don’t celebrate it in October. I was taught to believe that the three wise men were men hated by Jehovah. Also Jesus was around two years old when they came, not an infant in a manger. So the whole nativity scene was wrong and to be a part of it would to be a part of a lie. Who is the father of the lie? Satan, so it would be Satan that we would be worshiping. Christmas is being celebrated on the same day as the Sun God thus being connected to pagan worship. I had so many reasons now to avoid this holiday and look down on those who celebrated it. I began pitying them for their lack of knowledge, if they only knew the truth. What a horrible holiday!
Soon I became a mother of two boys and wanted to raise them so that they too would please Jehovah in all they did. Deep inside I struggled and cried in silence as the holidays came.
I really wanted to give Christmas to my children, but the consequences were much too high to pay. So I convinced myself that I was doing what was right in Jehovah’s eyes.
As the boys entered school I struggled with this secretly in my heart, praying that Jehovah would forgive me for such feelings. When the season approached each year my stomach would get butterflies, I became embarrassed at the response I had to give to the question, “are you ready for Christmas?” I felt like I had to give a response even if I didn’t want to because if I didn’t I would be proving I was embarrassed about being a servant of Jehovah. As the Christmas carols filled the stores with joy and cheer I couldn’t help but wonder how much of Satan’s world I was taking in, after all he is an angel of light. I believed what I had to believe to get by, thus I believed Jesus was Michael the archangel.
One day the truth about Jesus was revealed. Oh what a glorious King He is! King of Kings, Lord of Lords, mighty God, my Strength, my Rock, Prince of Peace and my Redeemer!! He is this and so much more, His love is everlasting — no conditions. I don’t have to keep working at doing things so as not to fall out of favor with Him. When all else fails He is there for me, He will never leave me stranded, nor neglect me, He will never let me fall. I have come to know the most wonderful person in the universe. I never saw before the majestic power He has and how He uses it to guide us along this weary path called life. When I hate myself He loves me still, when I cry He holds each tear because each tear has meaning and value, it belongs to Him. He is gentle with me when I am not. When I am not deserving of Grace, He pours it out on me like refreshing rain on a hot summer day. He is so new and fresh to me, I am tasting Him for the very first time. I can feel His loving arms wrap around my beaten down body. I never before knew the God that I served as a God of compassion and mercy. Who is this one called Jesus and why should He care for me? To know the REAL Jesus is like the river that flows through my veins and brings blood to my heart and life to my soul. I am so overwhelmed by His unconditional love for me. Just to think I have been redeemed is a reality so hard to grasp, yet He gives it without any reservations. For years I have worked so hard and it was never good enough I was never going to have salvation, I would eventually tire out and fade away being left a failure. No more condemnation is the gift that has been given me. If I were the only one on earth Jesus would have still come down and died for me.
So this Christmas season I no longer listen to the lies that I have heard for so long. I now listen to the voice of truth. I am starting my life fresh and new! I am starting to live a life that is led by my Savior, my King and my Redeemer.
This is why I choose to celebrate Christmas, to bring glory and honor to the one who is deserving of such praise.
With permission from Sharon Leasure 12/13/13
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
Keep yourself in God’s love,