by Minister Victoria Burson
Associate Pastor and Executive Assistant to Sr. Pastor
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Hope for Tomorrow
Wow! It is New Year’s Eve, can you believe it?
As I spend time with family and friends this holiday season, I have to consider how rapidly this year has come to an end. Just last week, I witnessed and spiritually benefitted from four distinct Christmas Eve worship services here at the Cathedral of Hope - - all of them very rewarding. I savored the moment in embracing the Christ Child narrative: the promise of a Savior and a new hope. Nevertheless, I cannot believe this day is now here!
If you are like me, you are deliberating as to whether or not you accomplished every goal you set for this year; this is a perpetual practice of making personal promises that reflect some form of lifestyle change only to break most of them. For instance, we tend to make the usual promises: losing weight, improving our finances, giving more and spending less, and the list continues.
For centuries, New Year’s Eve has played an intricate part in the lives of many, but particularly Christians. Consider John Wesley, the principle founder of the Methodist movement and a revered theologian. He believed that Methodists should renew their covenant with God annually, thus commencing the tradition of conducting ‘Watch Night’ services on New Years’ Eve.
In like manner, New Years’ Eve - Watch Night service Dec. 31, 1862 became one of the hallmarks for what it meant to be Black and of the Christian faith in the United States. This ancient practice was handed down by our ancestors and is one of the last vestiges of Chattel Slavery by African-American Christians. It is recorded that enslaved Black Americans stayed up throughout the night praying and waiting for Abraham Lincoln to sign the Emancipation Proclamation in the hope for a better tomorrow.
Moreover, Jeremiah experienced constant anguish and gloom throughout his life, so much so, his name meant the ‘weeping prophet.’ But Jeremiah understood, clearly, God’s definitive vision in the midst of Jeremiah’s wretched condition: an assurance for the unknown and unseen. Our hope does not occur from individual desires but from God. God promises great Hope and a bright future to all humanity.
Thank you God for a blessed year, and I sit in anticipation and expectancy of a new tomorrow. Amen! Wow! It’ New Years Eve, can you believe it?