Friday, December 18, 2009

Family Worship on New Year’s Eve

Traditionally the last night of the year is a time to reflect on the past and also to look forward to the coming year. You can opt to use this time to spend with family in the act of worship.

In most religions, worship is a time to celebrate their blessings. This is done through music, vesper services, liturgical dance presentations and candle ceremonies. The worship leader leads the group in their form of worship.

Watch Night Services

A watch night service is held on New Year’s Eve for holy worship. People gather to usher in the New Year as a family. Services occur in the evening. It may not be a long service but it is filled with silent moments and prayer. Different churches have different formats for conducting this service so check with your local church to see when and what is involved.

Watch Night Vigils

This is a type of worship service that lasts longer than a watch night service. Because it is a vigil, the parishioners faithfully watch the old year go out and the New Year come in. the ceremonies involve prayers, lots of music and the taking of the Lord’s Supper (Eucharist). These services typically start around 10 p.m. and last well after midnight.

Because of the length of the service, many churches also offer a meal once the worship piece is over. Families are invited to sit down and share a meal (usually breakfast) together before leaving to return to their own homes.

Home Celebrations

Before departing for a formal church service, worship on New Year’s Eve can begin at home. Gather the members of your family together. In a more informal service, everyone can use the time together to share and reflect on some of the following points:

·         What you have learned in the past year about yourself
·         Your expectations for the coming year
·         What you are thankful for in the past year
·         Something you have learned about your family in the past year

Any one of these questions (or others you may have in mind) can spark a conversation or moment of sharing amongst you. This can be a new tradition that you pass down to your children and they in turn can keep going in their own lives with their families.

It is truly a blessing to see one year leave and another come to pass. Celebrating that with your family creates a sacred memory that you will treasure for years to come.

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