Mid Week Meditation

Mid Week Meditation pt. 37

Submitted on: January 1, 2018

Look where God has brought us, look how far we’ve come, we’re not what we ought to be, we’re not what we used to be Thank You, Lord, thank You, Lord, for what You’ve done!”

On December 31, 1862 the first Watch Night Services were celebrated in Back communities in America. The Watch Night service can be traced back to gatherings also known as “Freedom’s Eve.” On that night, Black slaves and free Blacks came together in churches and private homes all across the nation awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law. Abraham Lincoln had used the occasion of the Union victory at Antietam, Maryland to issue a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves in the rebellious states after January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation legally recognized that the Civil War was fought for slavery.

At the stroke of midnight, all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free. When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy as many people fell to their knees and thanked God. The Emancipation Proclamation prohibited the Confederacy use of the bulk of its free labor. It also served to sway international public opinion strongly to the Union side. Some 186,000 Black soldiers would join the Union Army by the time the war ended in 1865, and 38,000 lost their lives.

African Americans have gathered in churches annually on New Year’s Eve ever since, praising God for bringing us safely through another year. It has been over a century since the first Freedom’s Eve and tradition still brings us together at this time every year to celebrate “how we got over.” This celebration takes many African American descendants of slaves into a new year with praise and worship. The service usually begins anywhere from 7pm to 10:30pm and ends at midnight with the entrance of the New Year symbolizing another of freedom. Some people come to church first, before going out to celebrate, for others, the “Watchman” counting the minutes until midnight in church is the only New Year’s Eve event.

Headline News

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