On New Year’s Eve, I found myself missing the Watch Night services I attended at church as a child growing up in Michigan.

The service started between 10 or 11 in the evening.  We sang, spent time in worship, then listened to a sermon.  There was time set-aside for people to share about God’s work in their lives in the past year, and when midnight neared we gathered at the altar or remained in our seats to “pray in the New Year.”

Since leaving home and moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve never attended a church that held a Watch Night service.  Recently over dinner, my family was discussing the ways people celebrate New Year’s Eve, and I mentioned this service and the practice of “praying in the New Year.”  The mixture of disbelief and shock in my son’s eyes informed me that this may be something foreign to many people, and it made me sad.

I miss this tradition of the Watch Night service when I set aside time to invite the Holy Spirit to look back with me on the previous year, and to seek His guidance for the coming year.  I miss taking the final few moments of each year to stand still and acknowledge that God is God, and I am not.

I may not be able to bring Watch Night services back into vogue, but on December 31st as midnight was nearing I spent some time in quiet.  I invited the Holy Spirit to speak to me about 2017, and to pray for His guidance in 2018.  It was hopeful, and time well-spent.

If you’ve ever attended a Watch Night service, let me know your thoughts about the experience?

How do you spend New Year’s Eve?

This article was written by Robby Kautz for the blog:  Christianquietude.wordpress.com

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