Watch therefore—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch.” (Mk 13: 35-37)

Am I being a spoilsport, reflecting on this particular passage on New Year’s Eve? I don’t think so. On the contrary, I think this is an invigorating passage to carry with us tonight, if we plan to “keep watch” and stay up to celebrate through midnight. I think my “watchfulness” tonight can be filled with more meaning, if I keep in mind the “watchfulness” to which the Lord calls me: He wants me always to be on the lookout for Him.

I must admit I often wondered about the whole “point” of celebrating New Year’s, even as a child, when we would watch on the TV as that big ball fell in Times Square. There was only one other night in the year when we watched the clock so closely, awaiting midnight, and that was the night of Pascha, when we greet the resurrected Lord at midnight, singing “Christ is risen from the dead…” There I did not wonder about the “point” of it all.

But today I look at New Year’s Eve as another occasion to “watch” for Christ in the midst of friends, at the uncommon hour of midnight. May I greet the New Year with Him and in His “newness of life” (Rom 6: 4), which He brings me again and again, be it “in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning.” Have a Happy New Year, everyone!

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