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Summary: The message is sharing why we have watch night service.

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Galatians 5: 1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery

Watch Night services provide spiritual way to bring in New Year. The typical image of New Years Eve is a group of revelers with party hats and noisemakers, ringing in the New Year with champagne.

• But on that same night, churches, welcome the coming year in a different way with a Watch Night service.

• Methodism founder John Wesley originated Watch Night services in the mid-18th century, sometimes calling them Covenant Renewal services. The original services were spontaneous prayer services designed to deepen the spiritual life of Methodists.

• In Methodist tradition, Watch Night was considered a time for recommitment. The unity of the congregation was renewed, the covenant with Christendom was renewed, folks testified and sang.

• Watch Night services have special significance in the African-American community, where they date back to the days of slavery.

• At the end of the year, owners tallied their property and often sold slaves to pay debts. They didn’t know after tallying if they’d be separated. New Year’s Eve was often the last night a family of slaves would be together.

• Watch Night took on even more significance during the Civil War. When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, it was to take effect Jan. 1, 1863. Slaves sat up the night before, waiting for their freedom to arrive at midnight.

December 31, 1862, also known as "Freedom's Eve."

On that night, Americans of African descent came together in churches, gathering places and private homes throughout the nation, anxiously awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation had become law. Then, at the stroke of midnight, it was January 1, 1863, and according to Lincoln's promise, all slaves in the Confederate States were legally free. People remained in churches and other gathering places, eagerly awaiting word that Emancipation had been declared. When the actual news of freedom was received later that day, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy as people fell to their knees and thanked God.

1. Let’s consider some the things they may have remembered

• Perhaps they recalled how slavery had brought Calamity to their families

• Maybe they remembered how their hearts had been calloused thinking God was not listening to their cries.

• Perhaps they maybe=have considered is it really possible that the Curse of these chains be changed

2. The next word they hoped to hear was the Reality of their Redemption

• How sweet to Hear these words or to read this on some official document

• Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

• "That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.


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