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.


Today’s Reflection

Even though [Joseph] showed mercy to Mary, he could still have been very upset or angry. If he was angry, it’s impressive that he seems to have reprocessed this anger into grace. He chose not be accusative but restorative. “He possessed the boldness, daring, courage and strength of character to stand up against his entire community and take Mary as his wife. He did so in spite of forces that no doubt wanted her stoned. His vision of justice stayed his hand.”

—Jan Johnson, Taste and See: Experiencing the Stories of Advent and Christmas (Upper Room Books, 2014)

Today’s Question

When have you seen an angry person demonstrate mercy rather than accusation to the person who angered them? Join the conversation.

Today’s Scripture

[Mary’s] husband
Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public
disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.
—Matthew 1:19 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Let us release the cares of our day,
and open our eyes to the wonder of God.

With an attitude of empathy to people of another time,
let us open our hearts and minds to God.

Let us prepare to experience God’s word to us
through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer by Jan Johnson
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

The new year is just around the corner. Don’t forget to order your copy of The Upper Room Disciplines 2023.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.


  • Ally Posted December 18, 2022 1:21 pm

    I have seen my daddy show this mercy to the mom of his student with special needs. He was not angry with her exactly, but frustrated due to her frustration over her son’s needs. Daddy explained ways she could help her son at home and asked her to partner with him to help her son learn. I find I sometimes have to step back so that I do not respond in anger.
    Our pastor tested positive for Covid, so we had a guest preacher today. Very good sermon and enjoyed the music and advent readings. Resting for a bit before I visit David. Hope everyone has a peaceful, restful Sunday. Beautiful and. Hilly day here in middle Georgia.

  • Jill Posted December 18, 2022 5:38 pm

    I try to be this person in my classroom – able to demonstrate mercy and patience when a student intentionally or unintentionally does something to myself or another student. I feel as tho the youth of this day needs to see mercy acted out and that it can be a source of strength.
    A beautiful service at church this morning. I am really taking to this other venue – so contemplative, the music so meaningful. Really resonates with me.
    My tennis team had a little get together this afternoon – wasn’t that well attended tho. Played tennis for an hour and then shared a potluck dinner. I just finished a zoom/google meet with some students, prepping for their exams this week.
    It has been a busy weekend and I am heading to bed. Still fighting a bit of cough and congestion. Three more school days this week – no teaching, just exams. So, this will be a gift to my sore throat.

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