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.

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Today’s Reflection

THE ADVENT MESSAGE predicts a future of freedom and hope and also speaks to those of us who have food, education, and secure employment, revealing our need for release from the stranglehold of a lifestyle in which our possessions control us.

It speaks deliverance to those in poverty as well. Jesus lives among us to bring the hope of freedom to everyone who seeks deliverance from oppression and bondage, to those who have much and those who have nothing.

The Advent hymn “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice” states, “Jesus Christ was born for this!” This Christmas will not be the same for anyone

  • who has lost a lifelong companion: “Jesus Christ was born for this!”
  • who is keeping a faithful vigil at the bedside of a loved one for whom the future appears dark and uncertain: “Jesus Christ was born for this!”
  • who is experiencing the deterioration of a relationship within a family or marriage: “Jesus Christ was born for this!”
  • who is burdened by the pain and hurt of abusiveness or abandonment: “Jesus Christ was born for this!”

The message of Advent is that, whatever our circumstance in life, Jesus Christ was born to be with us wherever we are.

– John A. Stroman
Singing Mary’s Song

From pages 21-22 of Singing Mary’s Song: An Advent Message of Hope and Deliverance by John A. Stroman. Copyright © 2012 by John A. Stroman. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Where are you comfortorted by Christ’s presence? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
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 1:46-49, 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?

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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


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  • Jill Posted December 19, 2018 3:41 am

    After dinner with my folks this past Saturday, we were sitting at the table eating Christmas cookies and dad said to me – do you know it was one year ago today when you had me at the ER for the first time. Mom immediately jumped in bemoaning “what a year it had been” – worst year of her life, everything that could go wrong did go wrong…on and on. Dad and I just sat there in silence. And I was thinking to myself that indeed the circumstances of this year have been very difficult, unlike anything I have ever experienced. And yet, the truth for me is that I have never had a stronger sense of God’s presence and peace. And what can bring me to tears in an instant is that I cannot, in any way, impart that peace to my mom – who so desperately needs it.
    In November, Jodi Eareckson Tada found out she had cancer again. And this is what she said…”Jesus is ecstasy beyond compare and if hardships draw us closer to Him, I’m more than content with it.” Amen.
    As I think about all that has occurred in the past year, I am thankful that I do not walk alone. I am thankful to God for Him using these circumstances to call me closer to Himself, where His comfort is immense.
    Grateful for the stillness of the early morning hours. Grateful for the Psalms.

  • Lou Posted December 19, 2018 5:22 am

    Jesus Christ was born for this-
    This is where I find my comfort

  • Betsy Posted December 19, 2018 6:56 am

    This devotion brings to mind friends who are experiencing pain or loss this Christmas. I pray for Julia, who lost her mom to cancer on Christmas Day of last year; also, Kathy, my neighbor whose husband is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s and is in hospice care. Christ was born for these times, as well as the happy events during this time. Blessings for all here.

  • Andrea Posted December 19, 2018 7:43 am

    May Jesus Christ touch the hearts of those who are struggling in any way. Jesus Christ was born for this! Prayers for joy for UR friends and joy for those for whom you pray. Blessings!

  • Julie Posted December 19, 2018 8:08 am

    I, like Jill, have had a tumultuous year (understatement!). I, too, find myself praying and seeking God in a new way. Different verses have become anthems. I pray the entire Serenity Prayers daily and two lines speak to me: “Accepting consequences as the pathway to peace” and “trusting that He will make it right, if I surrender to His will”
    I think everyone knows by now that I pray for each of you by name and for each of your shared concerns daily. But my comments are growing long and cumbersome I feel.
    I will say I am praying for Marcy and her Lucy. May they enjoy each other and bring joy to one another.
    Prayers for Jill and Gloria and Gloria’s attitude. It is hers and she needs to feel that she is accepted and loved even if this is how she feels.
    Prayers for each of you, my dear UR family

    • Francesca Posted December 19, 2018 9:46 am

      Not long and cumbersome! I feel Christ’s presence everytime I read your (& fellow UR posters) heartfelt and sincere comments. Please keep them coming!

      • Andrea Posted December 19, 2018 7:47 pm

        I echo Francesca and Connie, Julie. I appreciate your comments. They are not cumbersome. They are very caring and joy- giving. Blessings, dear Julie.

  • Connie Posted December 19, 2018 8:32 am

    Much accomplished yesterday and for that I am thankful.
    Julie, your comments are never long and cumbersome…more like caring and comforting. I read every word.
    I never knew JE Tada ever had cancer. I admire her so much. I must look her up-a blog or fb.
    I like the song “Look what’s happening at the Barn”. It is going around in my head! (I think I got the title correct)
    Blessings to all my beloved UR friends.

    • Julie Posted December 19, 2018 8:59 am

      Thank you Connie. I will resume since I know at least one person reads them. Thank you again. I get no words of encouragement in my life so I am deeply thankful for you and your kind words.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted December 19, 2018 9:00 am

    Thanks to God for His presence and comfort all these years!

    He gave me patience cause He showed me He never gave up on me.

    May all be filled with joy as we reflect on God’s presence and goodness even when we go through difficult times.

  • April Posted December 19, 2018 2:29 pm

    I just read a newsletter from one of our churches and I want to share these two sentences:
    This is the good news that we proclaim all year long. God comes and dwells with us…God loves us, and the world is different because of it.
    Wow…the good news is for all year….and Christmas is a good time to reflect on how I have done over the year and try to do better in the next.
    The world is different because God loves us, oh yes, and I could make a difference in the world if I were to love like God…I will try.
    Blessings to my UR family. I love to read your posts….no matter how short or long…..how frequent or not….you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

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