In many countries throughout the world, December 31st is considered the last day of the calendar year. Traditionally, it begins as a day of strict fasting, abstinence, and confession to emphasize the seriousness and thoughtfulness of the day. Another year is over and a new one is about to begin. This is a wonderful time to look back over the entire year and reflect on all of the good things and the bad things that have happened. It is a time to thank God for all of the good and to also thank Him for how He redeemed or is redeeming the bad.
Ways to Celebrate
On New Year's Eve, it is traditional in France and other European countries for the father to bless all members of the family and for the children to offer thanks to their parents for all of their love and care. Hold your own service for New Year’s Eve in your home where you can thank God for the blessings of the past year and seek blessings for the year to come. We commend it all to the mercies of God and we sanctify these moments with our Lord's blessing.
Devotion for New Year’s Eve
Light the Christ candle. Begin your devotion time with the following invitation to prayer:
Leader: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Leader: Let us pray.
Almighty God, you are the source of all life, you are the giver of all blessings and the Savior of all who turn to you: Have mercy upon this nation; deliver us from lies, anger, and disobedience; turn our feet into your paths; and grant that we may serve you in peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-15
Close with a prayer thanking God for his goodness and asking for his guidance and protection for you and all who are in any need or trouble.
End your devotion by saying the Lord’s Prayer together.
After the devotion is over, serve hot chocolate or punch. Have everyone raise a glass and wish each other a "Happy New Year".
In many European countries, they celebrate the Eve of St. Sylvester tonight. St. Sylvester was the pope who baptized Constantine the Great and Constantine the Great was the Roman Emperor who ended the long persecution of the Christians. Constantine ushered in a new era of freedom and peace for Christians. In Austria, they eat krapfen, or apricot jam doughnuts, when the clock strikes twelve on New Year's Eve.