New Year's Eve...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Well I have to say that I'll be happy to see this year go, but also a bit sad. I lost my father this year and it was a terrible thing...something I never realized would hurt as much as it did. If you're new to reading my blog, you can read about my loss and how it totally changed my world here and here. I find it sad because in a way I feel as if I'm saying goodbye to my dad all over again.

I want to share with you how we celebrated New Year's growing up. It was an exciting time for us...we knew we were going to be able to stay up almost all night. We ALWAYS had church on New Year's Eve. The service didn't start until 10:00 PM. It was wonderful to go to church so late at night and know there would be a party following the service.

My father always had a beautiful sermon to preach and he always made sure he ended the sermon at around 11:55 for the entire church to get down on our knees and welcome in the new year praying. It was so exciting to be kneeling there watching the clock, waiting to whisper, "Happy New Year" to my many friends. I don't think too many of us teenagers were praying!

My father would get up and announce at 12:00 midnight, "Happy New Year" and the entire church would sing a final hymn and then it was off to the party! When I was really little the party was held at the Rizzo's house, but as I grew older, the party moved to the Gambino's house. We would spend hours down in their basement playing games, eating and just having fun...sometimes we stayed there till 4:00 in the morning!

Later that afternoon our family from Mt. Kisco, NY would drive into the city to visit with us. We had so much fun with the cousins eating homemade pizza and all the other goodies my mom would prepare.

New Year's Eve just doesn't have the same excitement as it did when I was younger. I'm finding church is different. It's not the's earlier and there are no parties to go to afterwards. We never end the service on our knees waiting for midnight to come. It's just another service; home long before the strike of midnight ever comes.

I find that sad because I think where we all need to be, especially this year, is on our knees as we welcome in 2009. I need to be on my knees seeking God for guidance in my life. I'm missing the things I did as a child, the excitement, and I want to recapture that!

I'm going to try this year not to fall asleep so early and maybe, just maybe I can fall to my knees and think back to a time when all was right in the world...I'm a little girl again in my father's church, on my knees waiting to hear my dad say, "Happy New Year." I know that's where my dad would want me to be. I'll be praying that I never forget the wonderful times I had growing up and can have again, if only in my heart.

Happy New Year Everyone!


  1. That is absolutely beautiful, Lois. Steve has reminisced often about the New Years' services at Bethlehem Church and relates many of the same feelings. How impactful to end the old year and usher in the new one on your knees! There's something to be said about honoring God with our "firstfruits."

    Your father was such a man's man. He always had an amazing smile on his face and a sparkle in his eyes. There was a gentle strength about him and I think the kids of Bethlehem prospered because of his leadership. Now, my kids, through their father, are reaping the benefit of the strength of his teaching and his commitment to challenging his flock to live a life uncompromised.

    God Bless you and your family as you enter the New Year. I hope you can stay awake and that God meets you on your knees...

  2. ok, so you did it again....made me cry! Thanks dear sis. Yes, I too am missing the old days of our childhood. The many happy times we shared growing up, and going to the best church ever! What you have to do is start new traditions with you family now. If you don't want to go to church on New Years Eve since it's not festive like it was growing up in Daddy's church, then start doing something fun at home, like appetizers during the whole night, with a special movie. We started doing that, and Becca remembers it all. And we never had the pleasure of watching the "ball" drop when we were kids, so start that with your family. It's really no big deal, I don't care for that part, but it's exciting for Becca! This year we are going to the same friends house as we did last year. I think this will be our new tradition as the years come and go......we love going to their home. Or better yet, invite some friends over, and party all night long!!!! Ok, cheer up, Daddy wouldn't want us to be so glum....the hurt will fade someday. Me

  3. Well, you made me cry, too. Those of us who have lost parents have a real sisterhood of sorts. No one can possibly understand until it happens to them.

    I say that you start having the party at your house! Invite whomever you want to come over to your house after church and pray and party!! You could be the start of a new tradition at your church, and encourage others to be on their knees as the clock strikes 12:00. I'll be on my knees with you!

    Lois, your Dad sounds like a wonderful man of God. Your family was really blessed. My Dad didn't truly know God personally until shortly before he passed. Better late than never, though!!

    Tender blessings,

  4. I agree with Becky! But we won't come....ha!

  5. This year we are staying home, watching a movie, ordering pizza, having goodies, just the four of us. I will tell the kids about their OPA and what a wonderful memory I have a New Year's Eve in a wonderful church with wonderful people who loved us three Behrs so very much. Thanks everyone!!

  6. Very nice Lois. I have the same vivid memories of New Year’s Eve as you do. I remember one New Year’s Eve service in 1969 when I was 12 years old. We had a guest speaker a few month’s prior at the church who was convinced that 1970 was the year that the "Lord would return." He told us all the Prophesies in the Bible had been fulfilled and sin had run its rampant course and Christ would return to destroy the world as we knew it.
    This Minister even had a pamphlet that he handed out to everyone that showed line by line how every “thing” had come to pass and it was time.
    Needless to say, at 11:55 on New Year’s Eve, just a few moments before the year 1970 rolled in, I and my freinds were terrified that our lives were over. I kept saying to myself “It’s not fair!” “I’m too young and I didn’t get my chance to live my life yet.”

    Well, when Dad got up from his knees on the pulpit and announced Happy New Year to the whole congregation, I looked around to see who was gone and who was left behind. It seemed that everyone was still there and so was Dad. What a relief it was but also what a terrible way to live your life.

    Over the years I’ve tried to create New Year's traditions by being with friends and with people that enjoy life. To me, it’s a better place to be than with people that think the world will end at a moments notice.

    I can’t wait to see this year get out of here quick enough. I can only hope that 2009 will be better for everyone. Happy New Year! Love, your brother.

  7. Hi Lois! I always remember fondly New Years Eve at Bethlehem. Thanks for sharing from your heart and I hope that you and your family will enjoy many new blessings in the coming year!

  8. Such great wonderful memories. Yes!
    my eyes are tearing up also. But... Life goes on and we must make new memories for our families. We will be on our knees tonight at Grace Church @ 12:00 "ushering in the New Year" (quote Pastor Behr) :) Let's pray for each other. Have a Happy Blessed New Year! Hugs for all,especially your Mom.
    Love and Prayers,
    Carol, Phil and family.

  9. I was just catching up on the posts you wrote after your dad's fall. I think it's pretty amazing that the song you chose the week before the accident was "I Can Only Imagine." God was caring about you and preparing you even then. Glory to Him!

  10. What a beautiful memory! I hope that your New Years was spent the way you wanted it to. We should all remember that time in our lives when things were so innocent and so secure. I don't think you will ever forget that.

  11. Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories.
    I hope your family has a blessed New Year!

  12. Lois,
    Your memories of New Year's Eves of the past remind me alot of mine at my hometown church growing up. We didn't have a service, but our youth group always had a party usually at our pastor's house,and we stayed up really late. Home made pizza and games. Then praying in the new year like you said. Our youth group was really close, small, but close.

    You have inspired me to make new year's eve something special for my husband and I. We have gotten lazy and just stay at home and do nothing while our kids go out. Even a little party and movie at home for us would be something:)

    Thanks so much for sharing your dad and your memories with us.

    Blessings to you and Happy 2009,
    Linda C