San Gabriel High School

Gift Of Bearing Witness

Around this time of year, it seems as if everyone gets into the “holiday spirit” and celebrates festivities like Christmas. This is not the case for certain individuals such as junior Clarissa Vasquez, who is a Jehovah’s Witness. Her religious beliefs fall in line with Biblical principles and have her stray from typical worldly associations, such as birthdays and holidays overall.   

“[I’ve been a Witness] since I was little, like since I’ve been able to talk basically,” Vasquez said. “We’re raised to know that the things we don’t do are for a reason and for our own protection [in some cases].”

Jehovah’s Witnesses are Christians, followers of Jesus Christ. This comes to the surprise of most, considering that they do not celebrate his “birthday.”

“Everything we do is given by example by our teacher [Christ], and that’s how we live our life,” Vasquez said. “We go door to door [to preach to people] and that’s hard work, but we see it from the first example we received.”

Witnesses like her hold Christ in such high esteem that they commemorate his death later in the springtime. This is to show gratitude for how he died for the sins of his people, as noted by the Holy Bible.

“Every year, we have the memorial [for Christ’s death], and that’s for Jesus,” Vasquez said. “If I [wasn’t] a Christian, why would I be doing that? Why else would I be trying my hardest at times to live my life this way?”

The reason she does not celebrate Christ’s birth lies in the origins of the holiday itself.

“It goes back to when men took on religions like Catholicism and took those practices with them,” Vasquez said. “Basically, Christmas is full of different religions.”

These other religions do not coincide with their same beliefs and so to celebrate the holiday would be practicing another.

“We believe that in the Bible, [it says] Christ was born [near] October, not in December,” Vasquez said. “I mean, why would you be celebrating someone’s birthday when it’s a whole different date?”

Practitioners of this faith, a self-titled “religion of truth,” follow certain rules and regulations to abstain from promoting what they believe are Biblical falsehoods. The Hebrew Calendar is seasonal and in the Bible (Luke 2:8), it hints at warmer temperatures that are not in winter.

Rather than taking part in the festivities, Witnesses treat it as any other day. Of course, they face a lot of pressure when it comes to seeing others exchange gifts with one another.

“Knowing you can’t give or receive in that way is kind of hard, but we have other ways [to show appreciation],” Vasquez said.