According to research, "WATCH NIGHT" service can be traced back to gatherings on Dec 31, 1862 known as "Freedom's Eve". On that night Americans of African-American descent came together in churches, gathering places and private homes thoughtout the nation, anxiously awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation had become law.
Then at the stroke of midnight on Jan 1st, 1863 and according to President Abraham Lincoln's promise all slaves, in the Confederate States were legally free.
When the actual news had been received later that day, there were prayers, shouts of joy, and songs of praise, as people fell to their knees and thanked God.
But even prior to 1861, African people had gathered on New Year's Eve on plantations across the South.
This is because many owners of enslaved Africans has tallied up their business accounts on the first day of each year.
Human property was sold along with land, furnishings and livestock to settle debts. Families and friends were separated. Often they never saw each other again. This coming together on Dec. 31st might be the last time for enslaved and free Africans to be together with loved ones.
Black in North America have traditionally come together on "WatchNight", praising God for bringing them through another year and praying for their future.
Today we continue to take time out on this day to give God thanks and praise for keeping his hand on our lives as individuals/families/communities and AS A PEOPLE.
GOD BLESS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!