On December 31st, 2012, I had the privilege of bringing the Lord’s message to his people at the Austin Christian Fellowship of India during the Watchnight service and when preparing for it, I came across an article by Charita Goshay in the Canton Repository, published on December 29, 2012. The article was entitled “Thenceforth and forever free”, ‘Watchnight’ service rooted in history. The first few paragraphs read as follows …
As people gathered in Churches on the night of December 31, 1862, they held hope against hope that their prayers finally would be answered!
When midnight struck, one congregation caught collective breath, and it wasn’t until a man ran into the Church waving the awaited telegram, that the crowd erupted with cheers: President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in the Confederacy, had become law.
A fatal blow against slavery, it led to the 13th and 15th amendments, which outlawed slavery and granted black American citizenship, respectively.
While this may seem to the root of the Watchnight service, come to think of it, the first watch night service was when the shepherds kept watch over their flocks by night, an angel appeared that Jesus Christ, the Savior had been born and then an angelic choir sang of God’s glory and announced peace and goodwill on earth. This is the true emancipation proclamation, that outlawed spiritual slavery, because all who believe in Jesus Christ, God’s begotten Son, are saved, and saved from slavery to sin, for He/She whom the Son of God (Jesus Christ) sets free is thenceforth and forever free indeed (John 8:36) and this grants man citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20).
Points to ponder:
Are you free or still under the bondage of sin? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and confess your sins he will set you free; thenceforth and forever free.
John 8:36 (KJV)
36 If the Son [Jesus Christ] therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Luke 2:8-15 (KJV)
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.