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

In this Advent study we will use what can be called “participative” meditation: you become a part of the story in some way. … Christians have used participative meditation for centuries…, especially those who have learned the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, which guide people into experiences of Jesus’ life through the prayerful use of the imagination.

In each session, you’ll have a choice either to be a “fly on the wall” observing the events or to see yourself as a particular person in the story and experience it from that person’s point of view. Let the Spirit guide you. Either way, close your eyes and try to sense what was happening. If you had been there, what would you have seen? Heard? Would you have tasted, touched, or smelled anything?

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

Today’s Question

How do you feel about using your imagination to enter a biblical story? Join the conversation.

Today’s Scripture

Then there appeared to [Zechariah] an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. … But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.”
—Luke 1:11, 13 (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.


  • robert moeller Posted December 12, 2022 7:34 am

    Unsure. I am not imaginative. I don’t imagine what heaven is like or imagine what Jesus looks like. I’m more on the hopeful side than expectant. I trust God will keep promises.
    Had a wonderful worship, not so many fellowship, and even fewer for the hymn-carol sing with our coordinating pastor Deb Hoffman. The sing was wonderful. For the first time in my life I sang Silent Night, Stille Nacht, in German accompanied by a guitar. It was very emotional and my singing surely wasn’t the best, but it was very meaningful.
    Preparations for my trip to see Jenny, Willa, Oona, and Chris are underway.
    A mini-dusting of snow last night. Sun is out, mostly clear skies.
    Stay warm and dry. Thank You, Lord for the blessings of the day and Your help as we make our way through life.

  • Julie Posted December 12, 2022 9:46 am

    I find this an interesting concept in order to truly experience each Bible story. I can imagine myself as different people and viewing a situation from different viewpoints.
    I attended church yesterday. One thing our pastor does during Advent is portray different characters from the story of Jesus’ birth. Yesterday he was a shephard. Another Sunday he was the innkeeper. This does help immerse us into the story and make us imagine being there and experincing the lives of those he portrays. Perhaps that is why I am open to this excercise. Many new people that came to the Thanksgiving meal are now attending church each Sunday. Some have children and we badly need young families at our church.

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