Does your church have a “watch night” service planned for the last night of the year? Many churches offer services held on this evening culminating with rejoicing and feasting after a service of singing, praying and testimonials? In growing up that was one of the highlights of Christmas vacation! I always loved going to be a part of the praise and worship and then after midnight someone would hug me and say “Happy Birthday!” That was a marvelous way to begin not only a new year but also to begin my celebration—even though it was always a bit embarrassing at the moment. Watch-night services are not a new idea; Charles Spurgeon held a “watch-night” service on Dec 31, 1855 and “hoped that the Lord would own the service and thus souls might be saved.” What better place to reflect on the end of one year and the beginning of a new year.
Today’s reading in Psalm 148 to 150 guides in what we could include on this “midnight-eve” time of reflection.
For what to praise: Ps 148: Praise God for his revealed attributes see through his creation: “For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse.” [Rom]
With whom and how to praise: Ps 149: Praise Jehovah in the assembly of the godly. “With renewed zeal and fresh delight lift up your song unto Jehovah. Sing unto the LORD a new song. Sing, for it is the fittest method for expressing reverent praise. [C.H. Spurgeon]
Where to praise: Ps 150: Praise God in his sanctuary. Praise him when you view the sky; for his mighty acts, his surpassing greatness. Praise him with song and musical instruments. Let us all with one accord praise the Lord.
If your church has not planned such an event, you could invite others to join you in your own “watch-night” time of reflection and praise the Lord using these three psalms. I wish you all blessings from on high as you reflect and pause to praise the Lord for a new year to serve him.