I actually wanted to go start laying hands on people. I saw two people that I began to pray for under my breath because I honestly did not think their friends should take them home. I thought that it would be more appropriate to take them directly to the hospital.
The church has made New Year’s Eve a traditional event but where does this tradition come from you ask? I’m so glad you asked. On the eve of the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation that was written by then president, Abraham Lincoln, all of the blacks assembled in churches to pray that the Emancipation Proclamation would indeed be enacted.
The gathering was actually a prayer service regarding politics. How it turned into a sinful act if you do not attend, I do not know but I want people to leave me alone, so I have decided to educate others regarding this special tradition.
As people of faith, Christians, we are not to get caught up in traditions. It is nothing wrong with having a Watch Night Service, we have annual events all of the time. What is wrong is to tell others that if they do not attend they have somehow lost sight of their faith.
The name “Watch Night Service” as it is traditionally called, came from the eve of the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation. It is not sin.
In addition to the fact that Watch Night Service had nothing to do with Jesus directly, it also was a prayer for the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation which was supposed to free slaves, however it did not.
The Emancipation Proclamation much like our political bills now-a-days had limitations. The Emancipation Proclamation did not free all slaves. Blacks came together to pray for this political feat, and we essentially won but it was not until the ratified 14th Amendment in 1868 that stated, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States,” thereby granting citizenship to former slaves. Another equally important provision was the statement that “nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Why is this significant? Well, just as I believe we should know that Valentine’s Day related to a massacre, or that Halloween is a Pagan holiday, or that Jesus wasn’t actually born on Christmas we should be aware of our own commitment to certain celebrations.
To answer the question of this title, “Is it a sin to miss Watch Night Service” the answer is a resounding NO. As always do what God tells you to do. New Year’s Eve service may be exactly where you need to be, and that is okay. I love church but all-too-often we are caught up in traditions that are not biblically based.
I believe in communion. I believe in speaking in tongues. I believe in abundant living. I believe in Jesus. I believe in church, and prayer but do I believe that we have to do it on the time schedule that the world has set, no. GOD is outside of time, as William McDowell shared during a birthday concert for my pastor December 30, 2009.
I do not believe that if you do not attend church or prayer on New Year’s Eve that you have any reason to feel convicted unless God has told you to go. It would be great to bring in the New Year with Jesus but honestly you will do that no matter where you are. In other words, choosing to attend church is exactly that, a choice to bring in the New Year with those that you find are most important to you.