Archive for December, 2007

1 Corinthians 13: “Christmas Version”

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust. But giving the gift f love will endure.

Merry Christmas!

-Author Unknown

Comments

WATCH NIGHT CELEBRATIONS

Many of you who live or grew up in black communities in the United States have probably heard of “Watch Night Services”, the gathering of the faithful in church on New Year’s Eve. The service usually begins anywhere from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and ends at midnight with the entrance of the New Year. Some folks come to church first, before going out to celebrate.

For others, church is the only New Years Eve event. It is often assumed that Watch Night was a fairly standard Christian religious service—made a bit more Afro centric because that’s what happens when elements of Christianity become linked with the Black church. Still, it seemed that predominantly White Christian churches did not include Watch Night services on their calendars, but focused instead on Christmas Eve programs. In fact, there were instances where clergy in mainline denominations wondered aloud about the propriety of linking religious services with a secular holiday like New Years Eve.

However, there is a reason for the importance of New Years Eve Services in African American congregations. The Watch Night Services in Black communities that we celebrate today can be traced back to gatherings on December 31, 1862, also known as “Freedom’s Eve”. On that night, Blacks came together in churches and private homes all across the nation, anxiously awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law. Then, at the stroke of midnight, it was January 1 1863, and all the slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free.

When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts, and songs of joy as people fell to their knees and thanked God. Black folks have gathered in churches annually on New Year’s Eve ever since, praising Go for bringing us safely through another year.

It’s been 141 years since that first Freedom’s Eve and many of us were never taught the Africa American history of Watch Night, but tradition still brings us together at this time every year to celebrate “how we got over”.

Comments (1)