By God’s Side: December 16, 2020

Weekly Inspirational Reflections from the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles

December 16, 2020

The Reverend Dr. John A. DallesIt is a funny thing about Christmas trees. They are new and different every year, but they hold memories of every Christmas tree that came before them.

You know how it is. You manage to get the lights on and working, and then you begin decorating. Each ornament triggers thoughts of people and places that are dear to you.

I am told that Martin Luther, the great Reformer, began the whole Christmas tree tradition. The story goes that he was outside on a snowy, star-filled night, and came across an evergreen tree that sparkled with a luminous wonder. He chopped it down, dragged it home, and put candles on its boughs to simulate the starlight. And people have been crooning “O Tannenbaum” ever since.

Look around. Christmas trees are everywhere, aren’t they? From the tree by your hearth, to the Horne’s Christmas tree downtown. They are freshly cut, or freshly unboxed from the attic. They have handmade heirloom ornaments, or brand new ornaments you found to carry out a particular decorative theme. They all signal something special is now among us. Something that takes our lives from the ordinary to the extraordinary. And we know that something is the Babe of Bethlehem.

The trees are all in His honor. The lights remind us that He is the light of the world. The ornaments’ golden glow, and pretty workmanship, and quiet beauty all speak of things that are everlasting, like an evergreen’s boughs. As we deck our halls, may we also deck our hearts with the love of Christ.

The Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles
Interim Senior Pastor, Shadyside Presbyterian Church

About Dr. Dalles

Read more about Dr. Dalles.

Watch a brief video introducing a series of conversations with Dr. Dalles.

About By God’s Side

Shadyside Presbyterian Church publishes By God’s Side, a weekly series of inspirational reflections from the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles, to support you in your spiritual journey. These pastoral messages appear in the blog section of the church website each week. (Our weekly e-newsletter includes an excerpt to remind you to read along with us regularly; click here to subscribe to the e-newsletter if you do not already receive it.) We hope this regular feature will help you to draw closer to God’s side in your life of faith.

Read more reflections by Dr. Dalles from By God’s Side.