Watch Night

Watch Night

Happy New Year! Celebrating the New Year is a time-honored tradition. History reveals that four thousand years ago even the ancient Babylonians celebrated a new year each spring. The Gregorian calendar we use today wasn’t adopted until 1582. Prior to then the month of January didn’t exist; the Romans added it just a few hundred years before Jesus’ birth. Regardless of the calendar, time of year, or ceremony, through the years humankind has had a deep need to seek renewal, disregard the trials of the past and look hopefully into the future. We do that today culturally — but what is one way we can do that faithfully as Christians?


The Moravian Church — a Christian denomination with roots in what is now the Czech Republic—was started in the 1400’s. After periods of war and conflict, some members moved to England in exile. In the mid-1700’s, a wealthy Moravian hosted what is thought to be the first Watch Night service. Watch Night services are times of reflection and recommitment to our covenant with God. John Wesley brought this worship service to the early Methodist Church. Wesley was nothing if not “methodical,” so he encouraged churches to participate every month at the time of the new moon. What has evolved, however, is a service with purpose and impact, most often experienced on New Year’s Eve.

Movement of the Spirit

If we’re honest, we all can admit we’ve had moments in the past year when we’ve broken covenant with God (sinned). We’ve all faced challenges, had sins to confess, and fears to set aside. Yet we also have experienced God’s Spirit working on our behalf, offering us opportunities to grow into the confident, beloved children of the Almighty we were created to be. Watch Night is a perfect way to experience that dichotomy in a faithful and faith-filled way. We can feel the power of the Holy Spirit driving us forward and preparing us to make 2015 our most Christ-honoring year ever!

Question of the day: What are you waiting for?

Focal Scriptures: Deuteronomy 7:5-9; Psalm 39:6-7; Matthew 15:1-13

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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