Through Thy great mercy, O God Heavenly Father, we are again permitted to appear and bow reverently before Thy divine Presence at this solemn and awful hour, when we are called upon to pause at the flight of time, and to contemplate that glorious mystery, when the known past is shaking hands with the unknown future, when the solemn trembling sounds of a dying year, mingle with the joyous strains of a new born daughter of eternity - filling our hearts with fear and anxiety, with hopes and anticipations; to lift up our hearts in gratitude to Thee for all the benefits which we have received at Thy hand in the past and to implore thy guidance and Thy blessings in the future.
We thank Thee, O God, for the manifold gifts of thy grace, with which thou hast enriched us in the past year. In Thy Fatherly love, thou hast watched over our lives and the lives of those near and dear to us. In our struggles and vicissitudes Thou hast given us thy support. In hours of danger Thou hast protected us. In affliction and tribulation thou hast struenghtened us, and in hours of sorrow Thou hast reached us the cup of thy sweet consolation through thy sacred words.
And as we are thankful to thee for the joys of life, even so do we praise Thee for its sorrows. Alas! many a tear curled down our cheeks, many a tender tie has been severed by the hands of death. But Thou, a father, dost not willingly afflict thy children. With a father's love hast thou trained us that we may turn to Thee.