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

How do you and I get close to Joseph, who was close to Jesus? I am adept at finding fault and zeroing in on what’s wrong with others. But Jesus came so we would not judge, so we could become merciful and receive mercy ourselves. A judgmental thought rings your doorbell? Don’t answer. A critical remark hangs on your lips? Stay silent. An ugly observation about somebody out there, someone you love, or even yourself, suggests itself? Take a breath, and imagine Joseph hovering lovingly next to Mary, whom he could have despised, and over Jesus, God’s love bundled in the manger.

—James C. Howell, Why This Jubilee? Advent Reflections on Songs of the Season (Upper Room Books, 2015)

Today’s Question

What can you learn from Joseph about how to treat those with whom you are in relationship? Join the conversation.

Today’s Scripture

Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly. As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit.”
—Matthew 1:19-20 (CEB)

Prayer for the Week

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.
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 2021.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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


  • Jill Posted December 9, 2020 5:30 am

    Joseph, himself, was humble. And obedient. A quiet man, I imagine. And I believe a great protector of Mary. I see a lot of Joseph in my dad. A staunch defender of my mom…staunch, but not overt. Just quietly loving, always trying to make the moment safe and right, mom’s comfort utmost in his priorities. He was exactly the person mom needed, with the perfect temperament.
    I gave my students the option of having exams before winter break or after winter break. They all voted and the majority wanted them prior to winter break. So that will make next week an easy week. And it will give me lots of time to get them graded.
    My former basketball player got good news, she does not need the inner radiation. Plans currently are to have surgery December 28. Thank you for your prayers for her situation.

  • robert moeller Posted December 9, 2020 7:16 am

    Yes, we certainly have a good example in Joseph. Scripture says Joseph was a righteous man. He didn’t want to bring harm to Mary. Thankfully he was also patient and didn’t act right away and more importantly listened to a followed what he heard in a dream. Perhaps God picked this couple because of their qualities.
    Glad your students chose exams before winter break, you have been looking for a respite so it seems like a win-win situation.
    Good news for your former basketball player, prayers that all goes well.
    Had to look up the reflection this morning, it wasn’t in my mailbox, thankful I know how to do that.
    Chilly weather in the teens and 20s, Helpful for snow making and the real stuff. Skiers anxious for the season, still a bit early from my own experience, but the weather is certainly not what it was.
    It’s mid-week, my mail-express car is progressing, Have a new to me photo of it behind an engine I have a model of heading south on a stretch of track i also know. It was a vert unexpected but welcome surprise to receive. Stay safe, Thank You, Lord.


  • Julie Posted December 9, 2020 8:44 am

    My mind went in a different direction…Joseph is much like any one of us. At first he intended to quietly extricate himself from a situation that would harm his reputation and pride. But, than God provided guidance that caused Joseph to retink his initial plan of action and even his assessment of the situation. I know I see myself in this example of humanity.
    Prayers for Jill and her students, may her students do well on their exam and may Jill enjoy her easy week and abundant time for grading. Prayers of joy for the good health news her former player, now friend, received.
    Prayers for Robert and his new photo to help inform his work on his model, may it help him finish the car.
    Prayers for Ally and David as they continue to battle health and legal challenges.
    Prayers for Lou and her family, may all be well and safe.
    Megan sent me a picture overnight (Megan is a night owl while I am an early riser so early to bed) of Tazzie and Asher cuddled together on the heated blanket. They are finally meshing and becoming a kitty family.

  • Rick Posted December 9, 2020 4:28 pm

    Greetings all,

    Indeed Joseph was a righteous man, I’m sure like all of us he was thinking through his options. I think the key is he didn’t act. I imagine he was contemplative or in Prayer to God about his next steps… I’m not always patient and it’s been a practice, especially during this time, to be less reactive with my thoughts. Every time I need to make a trip to the grocery store and I see folks not wearing masks or not wearing them properly, I get so annoyed and want to say something! I don’t and go the other way. I don’t speak but pray for them and others. I also find myself listening more especially with family and friends. Especially now, post election, with some of my family and friends still so deeply divided. I’m grateful for your posts yesterday. I found Hope from the reflection and especially your posts. I like you Jill, have been asking God to renew and restore me. When I read Jill’s post, I felt like God was calling me back and directing my steps. My mind has been scattered and I get so distracted and feeling like I’m not really achieving much. I miss so many things. I so miss being of service and interacting with others in servitude. I will continue to listen and be guided by the Spirt. ☺️🙏🏻 Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

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