New Year’s Day and its many celebrations

NASHVILLE (Tennessee) – On Jan 1, Christians celebrate the civil New Year’s Day along with most of the rest of society, but that is not the only celebration for that day.

Many Christians hold a service to reflect upon their lives and be re-consecrated as Christian disciples. (A Watch Night Service can be held on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. See pages 288-94 of e United Methodist Book of Worship.)

United Methodists have cherished this tradition since the time of John Wesley, who developed a Covenant Renewal Service for such occasions.

Jan 1 is also the “Eighth Day of Christmas.” Many Christians remember that on the eighth day of Jesus’ life “it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb”. (Luke 2:21).

This day has often been celebrated as the Circumcision, or Naming, or Name of Jesus, as Christians remember the power of Jesus’ name.

The first day of the year is also the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s
Emancipation Proclamation of Jan 1, 1863. As we enter the New Year it is fitting that we bear all these meanings in mind.
– United Methodist News Service.

The Rev Hoyt Hickman is an author, educator and authority on church worship.

Origin of Watch Night Service

WATCH NIGHT SERVICE is a religious observance held on the last night of the year, Dec 31, often ending at midnight to begin the New Year.

Watch Night Service originated with the Moravian Church and was first held in 1733.

It is traditionally a time of giving thanks for the old year and making new commitments for the New Year.