Great Plains Daily Devotional for 1/5/2023: John 10:27

Today please be in prayer for

Farlington UMC
Girard UMC
Parsons District
Independence: First UMC
Parsons District
Independence: Grace Memorial UMC
Parsons District
Cherryvale UMC
Liberty UMC
Parsons District

Today's Lectionary Text

John 10:27

My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.


Today's Devotional

Today is the twelfth day of Christmas. We have been in a season of holiday celebrations for well over a month as we observed Thanksgiving, and the seasons of Advent and Christmas. While many people have already packed away the Christmas décor until next December, on the calendar of the church, today marks the end of the Christmas season. Tomorrow, the Magi make their visit to the Christ Child as we observe the Feast of the Epiphany. It is time to move from a season of intense celebration to a season of doing what Howard Thurman called the “work” of Christmas.  

The celebratory gatherings and worship services of the past couple of months play an important role in our lives. It is, after all, a good thing to celebrate God’s goodness in our lives and the coming of God’s light into the world in the birth of Jesus. But if Christmas is nothing more than a series of such events, then we miss the point of it all. 

Jesus did not come to be worshiped forever as a baby in a manger. His story runs the gamut of being a refugee, to growing up as any human being does, to spending time in preparation for his work on earth, to teaching and healing – and on to his ultimate purpose of death and resurrection for our salvation. And somewhere in all that life we find lessons he gave us for how to be children of God. I believe he intended us to do what he taught us to do. After all, in John’s gospel Jesus says, “My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me.” (John 10:27) Follow, not just in the sense of sheep following a shepherd, but also in the sense of going everyday where Jesus leads us. 

Every year when we reach the end of the Christmas season, I find myself returning to the words of Howard Thurman in his poem “The Work of Christmas.” 

When the song of the angels is stilled, 

When the star in the sky is gone, 

When the kings and princes are home, 

When the shepherds are back with their flock, 

The work of Christmas begins: 

To find the lost, 

To heal the broken, 

To feed the hungry, 

To release the prisoner, 

To rebuild the nations, 

To bring peace among others, 

To make music in the heart. 

The “work of Christmas” isn’t easy. Our world cries out for healing and wholeness each day. More than ever there are lost and broken people in need of friendship and healing. Far too many of God’s children go to bed hungry every night. Prisoners – both literal and figurative – need release. Nations torn apart by war need rebuilding. Not all of us are called to do all things, of course, but we all have the power to do something. We can bring peace among the people we encounter. We can all make music in our own hearts – and perhaps in the hearts of others, as well. All because failing to do the work of Christmas is failing Jesus. 

-- Robbie Fall, retired elder 

Prayer for Reflection

Redeeming Light, open us to the possibilities that you lay before us each day so that we may truly be about the work of Christmas. Amen. 


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