In the tradition where I grew up we spent New Year’s Eve at church. Sometimes it would start early in the evening with a pot-luck meal together.
Often there might be games or other activities. It was a time of fun and fellowship for the whole church family.
As we got closer to midnight we would move into the church sanctuary for a worship service. There was singing and usually special music from someone in the congregation. But an important part of the evening was the sharing of testimonies and Bible verses, God’s promises.
People would get up and share about how God had helped them in the past year. Or, perhaps they would share a spiritual lesson they had learned. It was a time to “bless the Lord and exalt his name.” Mixed in with the testimony time was the reading of Scriptures from the “Promise Box.”
A Promise Box was a little container with small cards inside. On each card there was a Bible verse, a promise from God. People would take a card and read it out loud to the congregation. It was a declaration of God’s goodness towards his people, his promise to never leave or forsake us.
I’ve discovered that people who take the promises of God seriously have a seriously joyful and contagious faith. They believe that God is for them and not against them. They believe that God has a plan and purpose for their life. They believe that no weapon formed against them shall prosper and that when they give to God the windows of heaven open and blessings flows out. They believe that God has given us everything we need for life and godly living. They believe that Jesus came to give them life and life more abundantly.
New Year’s Eve was an exciting time. I got to stay up late and spend the evening with friends and family. But as I get older what I remember most is the sense of spiritual vitality that filled our church. There was a great sense of expectation, that God was at work and that we could enjoy him.
In a cynical world it’s hard to value anyone’s promises. But God is faithful and cannot deny himself. So as we prepare to go into a New Year, why not take some time and meditate on the promises of God. “For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” ascends to God for his glory.” (2 Cor. 1:20)
Put your trust in God for the year ahead. His promises have never failed yet.