Christians across the country last Monday held watch-night services to usher in the new year, with calls on members of the public to adopt positive attitudes that will help to develop the country.
In the Greater Accra Region, all roads led to the various chapels, as committed and seasonal Christians thronged the churches to bid farewell to 2018 and ask for God’s renewed strength for the new year.
There was a generally charged atmosphere, as the patrons of the watch-night services sang, danced and recited Psalms of praise to God for His protection throughout 2018.
At the stroke of midnight, many of the congregants embraced one another, while they waved white handkerchiefs to signify victorious entry into the new year.
The night skyline was lit with fireworks.
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There were also new year resolutions from the thousands of patrons on the various church premises who made pledges to lead good lives that would glorify God.
While many people were at church services, others went to the bars and pubs to entertain themselves as they waited for the new dawn.
The central themes that ran through the sermons were love, patience, nationhood, gratitude and the avoidance of negative attitudes that posed a serious challenge to national development.
In his New Year message posted via his Tweeter handle, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo expressed optimism and hope in the future of the country, saying “this year promises to be a good one and l encourage you to join hands with my government in building the progressive and prosperous Ghana we all want”.
President Nana Akufo-Addo also called on Ghanaians to play active roles in building a progressive and prosperous Ghana.
“I am looking forward very much to 2019 with a sense of hope and optimism because our nation is certainly on the right path.
This year promises to be a good one and I encourage you to join hands with my government in building the progressive and prosperous Ghana we all want.
“I wish you a Prosperous, Happy New Year. May God bless us all and our homeland Ghana and make her great and strong,” he added
At the Black Star Square in Accra, the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) organised a 31st Watch-night Service which was attended by hundreds of Christians.
In his sermon, Pastor Mensa Otabil said although 2018 had been a difficult year for many, there were also people who were blessed in several ways.
“There are people in this arena who have gone through the valley of the shadow of death in 2018. You’ve been hurt, wounded, knocked down, sick, buried loved ones and more, but, most importantly, you are here because God is not finished with you. For some people, it’s been a good year,” he said.
He said without wisdom, a nation’s rich resources would lay waste.
“Wisdom is not just information but knowledge applied in the right way.
It affects our lives spiritually and morally. In 2019, may God give us wisdom to build our lives well.
Nations are not built by resources.
It’s great to have gold, diamond and oil, but without wisdom, there will be no building. May God give us wisdom in Ghana and we pray that God will give us master builders and Mensa Otabil will be wiser next year,” he added.
Pastor Otabil led the assembly in prayers to thank God for the previous and the new years, protection and blessing.
Shortly after a sermon to climax the past year and crossing over into 2019, he led the congregation to take communion.
Timothy Ngnenbe reports that the incoming General Overseer of the Evangelical Church of Ghana (ECG), Rev. Maxwell K.K. Liwangol, warned against loose political talk and the domination of the airwaves by hate speeches.
He said incessant trading of foul speeches, especially by budding political figures and the younger generation, had the tendency to disrupt the peace and unity that the country had enjoyed over the years.
At the Church of Pentecost, Manhean Branch, the District Pastor, Rev. Isaac Boadu Bonsu, asked Christians to be the light of the world like Jesus Christ and impact the lives of people around them, Emelia Ennin Abbey reports from Manhean.
That, he said, required Christians to lead lives worthy of emulation in order to give meaning to their being described as the 'light of the world' by Jesus Christ.
From the St John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Adenta, Severious Kale-Dery reports that an Assistant Parish Priest of the church, Rev. Fr Melvin Kofi Mensah, advised Christians to be appreciative of what God did for them throughout 2018, citing popular musician Kofi Kinaata’s hit song, “Susu ka”, which teaches people to be grateful for whatever God has done for them.
“My message to you tonight is this: begin to appreciate God. You have every reason to thank God for whatever has happened in your life,” he told the cheering congregation, and advised them to enter 2019 with clean and docile hearts.
Rev. Fr Mensah said there were a lot to be grateful for and, therefore, people should stop being pessimistic, adding: “Let us begin to speak positive and good things onto our lives because we have received grace upon grace on ourselves and whatever we want will be received.”
From the Pentecost International Worship Centre (PIWC), Atomic, Philip Boateng Kessie reports that the District Pastor, Rev. Samuel Gyau Obuobi, admonished Christians to remain resolute in the walk with God going into the New Year.
Delivering a sermon titled: “His Presence”, Rev. Obuobi said Christians, in their desire to live fulfilling lives in 2019, must first commit themselves to seeking the presence of God.
That, he said, would be a key factor to help Christians experience the manifestations and workings of God in their lives as the year unfolded.
“It is the desire of God for His children to walk in His presence.
Nothing is good enough to substitute the presence of God,” he said during the 31st watch-night service.