By God’s Side: December 30, 2020

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

December 30, 2020

The Reverend Dr. John A. DallesHere we are at the last Wednesday of the year. The days have dwindled down to a precious few, as the song lyric says. So what do you have planned for celebrating the New Year?

I am guessing that you are marking the end of 2020 and the start of 2021 in a way that is different from your usual New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day practices. Recently, I was reminded that, the past two New Years, we celebrated by going to dinner with dear, long-time friends. We will not be able to do that this year, due to the pandemic. You have probably made similar adjustments to your usual practice, and will miss not being able to do what you enjoy doing.

That comes with a measure of sadness. But don’t let the sadness prevent you from taking a moment to be grateful for what this past year has brought you. In a year when there were many things that we could not do, we did things we might not have done otherwise: time spent sheltering together, when we might have been apart; learning new skills, such as how to Zoom, instead of being with someone in the same room; learning how to cope with the unexpected, and how to be as agile as possible when conditions change.

There may have been that one phone call that filled your heart with joy; that place in your yard or down the street that took on a new significance because you were staying close to home instead of going farther afield; that book you read; that song you sang; that craft you perfected; that quiet time you didn’t know you had. Find a moment to give a prayer of gratitude for these kinds of things.

And yes, we hope that 2021 will hold many new joys, anticipated and unexpected. Do more than hope; entrust the unfolding days to the Lord. Give this coming year to Him, before it begins. Say, “This year is Yours, God; we rely upon Your grace day by day.” And perhaps you can say (or, if you are of the right generation, sing) that beloved prayer of St. Richard of Chichester:

Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ,
For all the benefits Thou hast given me,
For all the pains and insults Thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I see Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
And follow Thee more nearly,
Day by day.

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.