Great Plains Daily Devotional for 12/29/2022: Isaiah 63:7-9, Matthew 2:1-2, 9-12

Today please be in prayer for

Garfield UMC
Larned: First UMC
Dodge City District
Liberal First UMC
Dodge City District
Liberal: Rosa de Saron
Dodge City District
Meade UMC
Dodge City District

Today's Lectionary Text

Isaiah 63:7-9

I will recount the gracious deeds of the Lord,
    the praiseworthy acts of the Lord,
because of all that the Lord has done for us
    and the great favor to the house of Israel
that he has shown them according to his mercy,
    according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
For he said, “Surely they are my people,
    children who will not act deceitfully,”
and he became their savior
    in all their distress.
It was no messenger or angel
    but his presence that saved them;
in his love and pity it was he who redeemed them;
    he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

Matthew 2:1-2, 9-12

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, magi from the east came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star in the east and have come to pay him homage.” ... When they had heard the king, they set out, and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen in the east, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Today's Devotional

Christmas Day ended with a drive through the downtown area of Kansas City, looking at all the beautiful lighting and contemplating the Light whose entrance into the world we had just celebrated once again. The displays, whether in neighborhoods or on downtown businesses, were brilliant and awesome. In a similar way the joy the wise men experienced as they followed the leading of the star must have been humbling and brilliant. Overwhelming joy fills us now as we prepare to celebrate the New Year and Epiphany. 

This is a great time to think about the gracious and praiseworthy actions of our God during 2022. Where was God active in the world this past year? How did God act? What happened that showed God was present? When ugly events occurred in 2022? How did God lift me up or in what ways did he carry you during the past year? What evidence helped you to clearly know that presence as you went through everyday tasks and followed your regular routines? Thanks be to God for each and all of the ways in which God was present during 2022. 

During 2023 what is there to anticipate? The world seems to be pretty bleak still. People continue to treat each other in unkind ways. Folk still take advantage of neighbors near or far away in order to better themselves. Systems continue to be unjust. “It’s not fair!” is the truth that rings around the world. “They are different from me, but they are still children of God. Help me get to know them” is seldom heard. Instead, we make ourselves comfortable by rationalizing how our own way of life is the correct way. We promise to spend more time talking and listening to God in 2023, as soon as the laundry is finished or the post-holiday diet starts. Seeking God’s presence and guidance as I try to balance all of those improvements my own life needs could be a valid exercise. 

As we enter 2023 could I each ask where do my skills and God-given abilities match with the need that surrounds me? Where do I need to have the Light shine in order to focus and  guide me in being a reflection of God’s love in the world? What difficult-to-break habits are standing in the way of connecting with God. Just where do I need God to lift me and carry me in 2023? Reflecting on some of these questions upon entering 2023 would lead to some clarity in our own individual lives, and in our living as a manifestation of God’s love in the world. By standing within the circle of the Light and figuring out how to reach out from that circle to the bleak world could we make the world a little less bleak? Let’s try! 

-- Rev. Dianne Tombaugh, retired elder

Prayer for Reflection

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. Show us where you need us in 2023. Empower us to be reflections of your Light. Thank you, God. Amen. 


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