New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

"A Liturgy for Morning Prayer," Upper Room Worshipbook

Used by permission from the Book of Common Worship, © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved. This prayer appears in “A Liturgy for Morning Prayer” in Upper Room Worshipbook.

In order to continue receiving Upper Room Daily Reflections after January 1, 2019, please confirm your subscription here.


Today’s Reflection

THE SHEPHERDS “went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger” (Luke 2:16). We associate the lovely tune “Greensleeves” with the beloved carol “What Child Is This?” I find myself intrigued by the phrase “whom shepherds guard and angels sing.” Shepherds don’t sound like very good guards, do they? Lacking armor and swords, they have never been drilled in formations or in protecting against violent attackers. … Chasing sheep around in the dark doesn’t qualify you to guard a king like Jesus.

But the shepherds stood before Jesus in awe, the way we crowd around a crib that holds a sleeping child. Theirs was a guarding of faith, belief, hope, and love.

– James C. Howell
Why This Jubilee?

From page 57 of Why This Jubilee? Advent Reflections on Songs of the Season by James C. Howell. Copyright © 2015 by James C. Howell. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What are you guarding these Advent and Christmas seasons. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“For he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

Luke 1:48-49, NRSV

This Week: Pray for joy. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

Daily Reflections is sent compliments of The Upper Room. Please join our family of generous donors who make this possible. Give today.

This week we remember: Peter Casinius (December 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA


In order to continue receiving Upper Room Daily Reflections after January 1, 2019, please confirm your subscription here.


  • Trackback: The Upper Room Daily Reflections: daily words of wisdom and faith “Whom Shepherds Guard” by James C. Howell for Sunday, 23 December 2018 – Global Methodist Nazarene Lamb's Hope
  • Jill Posted December 23, 2018 4:25 am

    Not sure what I am guarding…I am very aware of the gratitude I have that my family is able to enjoy this time together – that we have this holiday season and have had this past Fall season with mom feeling well physically. A blessing, one to not be taken for granted for even a moment. So, am I guarding this memory in the making? Certainly protective of it. It is so good to see dad at ease – he, too, super grateful for this reprieve and time to share together with mom feeling well. Christmas traditions for another year. I stopped by their place last evening and this past week was the anniversary of their first date, and dad had gotten mom a beautiful card. 65 years ago – astounding.
    Father – hear our cries, the prayers and longings of the UR family. Comfort those in need of Your peace and healing…Julie, Marcy, Betsy’s brother, Lowell, Connie, Lou, Annaliese.
    Father – thank You for time with family and loved ones, and as we gather – may we be in awe of the gift of Your Son. Amazing grace.

  • robert moeller Posted December 23, 2018 5:59 am

    I’m guarding my faith against the one who would have me no longer believe.

    Thankful for a “holy hike” with church members and the pastor yesterday. It was wet, sometimes slippery, going but we had fun and prayed traversing a fisibee golf course.

    Church with choir practice, worship, fellowship, and Bible study today. Have sent most of my Christmas cards and e-cards. Thankful that messages can get through despite the shut down. Prayers for our government and leaders, God’s wisdom is sorely needed.

    Tomorrow evening we celebrate the arrival of Jesus long ago. Thankful that God sent his only begotten Son to help, guide, and save us. Jesus is a precious gift from God and enables us to stand blameless before God. What a winder that is.

    Blessings and peace to Julie, Jill, Betsy, Andrea, Mary, Marcy and Mary, Lou,
    Connie, April, Francesca, Rusty and K, and all who come to the UR. The Lord is with you. Thank You, Lord.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted December 23, 2018 6:19 am

    May God guard our faith which is the most important thing.

    May everyone be prepared for His coming!

    Prayers for all here and not.


  • Connie Posted December 23, 2018 7:52 am

    Having trouble with 2019 Daily Devotional subscription. May have to go back to paper copy from church.

    • Julie Posted December 23, 2018 8:36 am

      Connie, I have often experienced issues renewing my devotional subscription. You MUST subscribe through the UR site only. Renewing through Amazon won’t work. Hope this helps.

  • Andrea Posted December 23, 2018 8:10 am

    I am guarding my calm and quiet. Yoga, walks outside. It looks like it will be a brown Christmas, although we may see the sun on Christmas Eve and Day. May the Son shine in the dark spots of our lives.

  • Betsy Posted December 24, 2018 7:33 am

    Sitting here in a quiet house while everyone still sleeps, I am guarding this special time with our children. Awaiting the arrival of Christ in prayer and calm. I feel the childlike anticipation as we wait for Christmas Day.

    Thankful for attending church yesterday with our children at their home church. An answered prayer that my son and his wife are regularly attending a wonderful church as they await their first child. My daughter went with us, even tho she is not a regular church goer. Still praying for that.

    Thanks to this special group of prayers for my brother. He’ll be released from rehab to go back to his home the day after Christmas. We are working on getting him in to a safer subsidized apartment in the new year. He still wants his independence.

    Blessings and Merry Christmas to all the UR family that visits here each week. I’m so fortunate to be a small part of this group!

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *