I was reflecting with a minister friend about the Watchnight Services that we used to hold in our churches. I say 'used to' because they don't seem as popular today (though I could easily be proved wrong!) In my first church in Blackburn, people gathered on New Year's Eve at 11:30 pm. We sang, reflected on the past year, gave thanks and made confession and then prepared ourselves for the new year with prayers like the one below.
At midnight I would turn on a portable radio just in time to hear the chimes of Big Ben and then with immense joy we would greet each other. It really felt good to be with the church family anticipating the future together. And then we moved into the street outside to sing loudly The Lord's my Shepherd ! It was a tradition I happily inherited. In a densely residential area we hoped it made the right kind of impact.
So, let's commit ourselves to a good new beginning:
Lord of the ages,
you are our beginning and our end.
Everlasting God, we place our days within your care.
Eternal Father, we trust you,
For your faithfulness in the past, we thank you;
for your constant care we praise you;
for our future in your love, we place ourselves
into your keeping and offer our lives for your service;
through Jesus Christ, your eternal Son, our Saviour. Amen.