Every year I attend my church for a special event to greet the new beginning. To many, going to church and attending service on such an important day may seem like the most boring thing ever, however, there is definitely more to this annual gathering than just sitting in for the pastor’s lengthy sermons. Definitely more!
Prior to the New Year’s Eve sermon, all the church members, along with their relatives and friends, gather for a meeting of a genuine camaraderie. At 7 P.M. on the eve of the New Year, the church prepares an extraordinary meal for us: the Korean traditional rice cake soup called Tteokguk. We eat it every year as a tradition; yet, it is one of the best things, and we look forward to each year. Eating tteokguk brings in the renewed spirit of the exciting New Year event.
Church members of all ages and backgrounds assemble in the main lobby for the highlight fun of the day: Yut-nori. Everyone splits into teams of equal numbers, and challanges the others. This continues as the winning team ascends higher in the competition, until the final Yut-nori champion team is establish. This game is the most popular Korean traditional game. The perks lie in its simplicity; the rules are easy-to-learn, but the play is exciting. On top of that, the winning team receives a whopping $200.
The New Year’s Eve service is held on the last few hours of the year; to greet the approaching year and clear away the passing 2019. The main theme of the service this year was forgiveness. For the past year, we have at once developed feelings of hate and ignorance. As we begin this New Year, this new decade, the pastor emphasized the importance of forgiving them and loving them as Jesus has forgiven us in the past. To clear away these feelings, we prayed to love our neighbors from the bottom of our hearts. Then, we asked for God’s continued blessings in the new upcoming year.
The countdown near the end of the service is the most exciting part. After a moment of thanking each other, we communed to countdown to greet the year of 2020. “3…2…1… Happy New Year!” the room exploded with exuberance! The celebration continued well past midnight. At last, people left after hand picking a small laminated bible verse which they can hold onto for the rest of the year. The smiles of church members leaving with delightful hope for the new year uplifts my outlook for the future.
Goeun Lee, Grade 11
Larchmont Charter School