Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Watch night services

It's almost the end of the year.  What do I remember about New Year's Eve and New Year's day?  Well, from the time I can remember anything I remember what we called "Watch night service". 

"Watch night service" was a church event where the women would provide a pot luck, not to be eaten until after the 12:00 a.m. church bells rang on New Year's Eve.  I never knew about the ball dropping in NYC until I got into high school because I was always at the church on New Year's Eve, not home watching TV. 

I loved that time of getting together with other church people, including any children that came, and especially if I was able to stay awake, the after midnight prayer time (praying in the new year) fun, food, fellowship.  The food especially.  All those cookies.   All those chips.  All those other goodies.  Yum.

The prayer time started at midnight after my father rang the church bell for about one minute.  We had a short service of singing prior to the bell ringing.  Early in my life while I was happy to be in the prayer time, it wasn't a part of my life, so I just sat with my head bowed and my eyes closed until the praying time was over and we could go to the fellowship hall and eat and have fun playing games with each other.  If there was snow outside, we certainly had fun throwing snowballs at each other. 

I don't recall when the praying became the central focus of my New Year's Eve, but I know it was before I got married.  New Year's Eve for my husband and I is still a time of prayer for our country, family, and friends.  So if  you fit in one of those categories, expect to get prayed for this New Year's Eve.

Finally, I wish there were some pictures floating around of this service.  Mom and dad didn't have any, so I guess the pictures will have to remain in my mind (and heart) for me to see.


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