Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer
At midnight when the majority of Jamaicans were just ringing in the new year, members of the Adventist faith had already 'beaten' more than half the population to 'the punch'.
No, it was not a case where they manipulated the clocks or a case where they were quick on the tongue when it comes to bellowing the usual greeting: "Happy New Year".
"We believe from a biblical perspective that the evening and the morning commence the first day, not midnight as many have promulgated. The new day begins at sunset, so our New Year's service begins at sunset," explained Cornell jackson, senior pastor at the Kencot Seventh-day Adventist Church in St Andrew.
This doctrine, widely pro-mulgated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is grounded in a biblical reference found in Genesis 1:5.
RINGING OUT PRAISES
And so, from as early as 5 p.m. on New Year's Eve, most of the Adventist churches visited in Kingston and St Andrew by The Gleaner were jam-packed with eager congregants awaiting the setting of the sun, and ringing out praises to God for seeing another year.
At the Kencot Adventist Church, which was rocked by the much publicised murder of two of its members in 2012, seven new converts sat in the congregation awaiting their watery baptism.
Jackson said the church was also using the occasion to give "God thanks for helping us to rebound and to be moving on in spite of what transpired" in 2012.
At Andrews Seventh-day Adventist Church along Hope Road, Pastor Samuel Lewis had the honour of immersing four young converts in watery baptism before the night ended.
Sister Morna Matthews, who was obviously in high spirits at the end of the service at the Half-Way Tree Seventh-day Adventist Church, had only one wish for the new year.
"I want to be closer drawn to God. That is my one wish," she said.