Watch Night

God of the Dark and the Light

Watch Night, Year A

For some, this is a quiet observance, spent in prayer and reflection in anticipation of the new year to come. Others use the opportunity for a joyous celebration of the grace already shared and the promise of God’s presence in the future.


Tonight is a night to celebrate freedom from bondage and oppression.
Tonight we reclaim the truth that our lives have always mattered.
Tonight we remember the cost in courage, lives, and human anguish to give us our birthright of freedom.

Tonight we thank Jesus and all those who have followed the Divine example, making it possible for us to have so much to celebrate.
Tonight we accept our responsibility to protect and expand those same freedoms for those still oppressed and for those who will come after us.

Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the UMC, Watchnight Liturgy,, 1.


The end of the year is upon us and tonight we gather
to offer the strides as well as the struggles of this year to God.
We gather to give to the Creator both our hopes and our fears,
as we gather to worship the Lord our God.
Holy Spirit, fill our hearts and our lives tonight as we worship.
Grant us each the strength
to sing our sing,
to pray our prayer, and
to listen for the Word that will drive our fears away
and move us to offer praise and thanksgiving.
Inspire us tonight we pray, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

United Church of Christ, Worship Way,

Dialog for New Year's Eve

(based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-13)

For everything there is a season:
And a time for every matter under heaven:

A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted.

A time to break down, and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh.

A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to be silent and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

God has made everything suitable for its time.
God has put a sense of past and future into our minds.

God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him.
Whatever God does endures forever.

Rev. Thomas Weitzel, on Liturgies by TLW. Posted:

Prayer for New Year’s Eve

Eternal God, before whom we are creatures of the day and children of the hour, we lift our prayers to you as we stand in the shadows of the waning year.

We are aware once more of the fleetingness of time, and the transiency of our being. So much has happened to us during the year so rapidly slipping away, so much of hurt and happiness, of loss and gain, of hope and fear. We did not expect the sorrow that was thrust upon us. We were surprised by the turn of events that changed our lives.

We look back. We remember how different life was a year ago. The slow, quiet erosion of the days has gone on, and we are not quite the same persons as we were, for better or for worse. We have had a whole year to grow in love or to fall out of love, to turn our hands to constructive tasks, or to turn away in idleness. We have had a whole year, and now it is almost gone.

No matter what we have done or failed to do, O Lord, keep us from dwelling on it too much. If we have failed, help us put the failure behind us. If we have done well, help us be glad but not complacent. There are other hills to climb and new hopes to be realized.

We know, O God, you understand our need to look back for a while, wistfully peering at the past. But start us looking forward. We do not know what events are ahead, but we do know you are there, and we are grateful. Amen.

Adapted from Kenneth G. Phifer, A Book of Uncommon Prayer (Upper Room Books, 1981), 121.


Go from this place; not into darkness, although it is night! Go into the Light of God's eternal, inspiring Love. Go to be those who bring peace, love, hope and joy. And God will always be with you. AMEN.

Nancy Townley, Ministry Matters,

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In This Series...

Las Posadas, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Blue Christmas, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Christmas Eve, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Christmas Day, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Watch Night, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes New Year's Day, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes