The Church Of God At Williamsburg
Watch Night Service
Many of you who live or grew up in Black communities in the United States have probably heard of "Watch Night Services," the gathering of the faithful in church on New Year's Eve.
The service usually begins anywhere from 7 p.m. To 10 p.m. And ends at midnight with the entrance of the New Year. Some folks come to church first, before going out to celebrate.
For others, church is the only New Year's Eve event. Like many others, I always assumed that Watch Night was a fairly standard Christian religious service -- made a bit more Afro centric because that's what happens when elements of Christianity become linked with the Black Church. Still, it seemed that predominately White Christian churches did not include Watch Night services on their calendars, but focused instead on Christmas Eve programs.
In fact, there were instances where clergy in mainline denominations wondered aloud about the propriety of linking religious services with a secular holiday like New Year's Eve.
However, there is a reason for the importance of New Year's Eve services in African American congregations. The Watch Night Services in Black communities that we celebrate today can be traced back to gatherings on December 31, 1862, also known as "Freedom's Eve."
On that night, Blacks came together in churches and private homes all across the nation, anxiously awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law.
Then, at the stroke of midnight, it was January 1, 1863, and all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free .
When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy as people fell to their knees and thanked God. Black folks have gathered in churches annually on New Year's Eve ever since, praising God for bringing us safely through another year.
It's been 145 years since that first Freedom's Eve and many of us were never taught the African American history of Watch Night, but tradition still brings us together at this time every year to celebrate "how we got over."
PS- Pass this information on so we can educate more of our Family and Friends about our History!
The Church Of God Watch Night Services
December 31, 2011-January 1, 2012
May God Bless You Dear Ones,
And a Happy New Year to each of you.
It is important for each of us to know and understand the power of the Almighty God. For in Him we live, move and have our state of being. Without Him we are nothing. Amen??? Amen!!!
We are thankful to God for the compassion that He has for us in that He has granted us the opportunity to once again see another year go out and another to come in. What a blessing to be able to behold the beauty of the Lord and then to enquire in His Temple. (Ps. 27:4)
Church we should never under estimate the power of the enemy. Amen??? Amen!!! It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed by satan, and that is because of the Lord’s compassion for us. I am thankful, now what about you.
As we enter the New Year, let us continue to strive for the prize of the high calling of God, which we all know, is in Christ Jesus. We are speaking of the life beyond this life. Eternal Life with God in the hereafter. The life that is going to be free from pain, sorrow, headaches, discomforts...........for all these such things(which are former) will have pasted away and all things (as the scripture has said) will become new. Oh what joy!!!
Church, I am living for the promise..........what about you??? I am speaking of the promise that God has promised me and all other who will live godly in Christ Jesus. Amen??? Amen!!!
So let us continue to strive for the prize that we may attain, for it we miss this great opportunity, our fate will be hell. Amen??? Amen!!!
Love to you all and we are wishing you a Happy New Year,
December 31, 2010-January 1, 2011