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

Storytelling is a form of the ancient communal spiritual discipline of hospitality. It is a communal process of transforming sojourners into kinfolk and strangers into friends. The voice of the story resonates from deep within the body and imagination of its teller, and its vibrations reach into the physical and imaginative depths of the listener. The images that linger on the outskirts of consciousness and the voices that continue to sound in the ear of the heart are the threads that connect us to those who have known and loved the story across the ages. To be invited into the world of a story is to be offered the hospitality of the community of people who live by that story.

—Michael E. Williams, in The Wondrous Mystery: An Upper Room Advent Reader, compiled by Benjamin Howard (Upper Room Books, 2019)

Today’s Question

When have you extended hospitality or received hospitality by being invited into a story? Join the conversation.

Today’s Scripture

As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

—Mark 6:34 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

God, Thank you for what is just around the corner. In a season filled with the longest, darkest nights, I await the coming of the most beautiful light.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Holidays can be rough. This year is especially difficult for those whose family or plans have been affected by the pandemic. Join us to pray for those in need or share your own prayer request at The Upper Room Prayer Wall.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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


  • Julie Posted December 18, 2020 8:46 am

    My current story, and I invite you into it by sharing this with you and also ask for your prayers, is about Tazzie. I have an appointment tomorrow at 11:00 am with the home euthanasia service my vet owns. Tazzie has extremely high blood pressure which has cost him his eyesight. All of his major organs have been negatively affected. The entirety of his intestinal walls are thickened which are an indication of lymphoma. Both Pooka and Chai died of GI tract cancers. I am a mess. I was up most of the night wondering how my life will be without my heart. Tazzie is indeed my heart…the reason I get up each morning and he sees me through each day. I am bereft.

  • Ally Posted December 18, 2020 10:24 am

    Christ invited us into His story, demonstrating ultimate hospitality. We return the hospitality by inviting Christ into our stories and into our hearts. Julie, thank you for letting us know about Tazzie. My heart breaks for you and your little buddy. I know you have been a good kitty mom and he will leave knowing he is loved outrageously. Our animal companions are family. Know that my prayers are with you and Megan. God bless little Tazzie and may you feel the Lord’s presence today as you say “so long” and a virtual hug from me. Praying all are well on this cold day. Love to all.

  • Jill Posted December 18, 2020 4:05 pm

    You nailed it, Ally – the best story possible, every intricate detail woven with love, and we are asked to participate. Incredible. Pure gift.
    And because of Christ, we are encouraged to be story tellers – telling the greatest Story ever. And in the midst of living life, building relationships….living out the Story – our specifically ordained role – to His Glory.
    Julie – may you sense God’s loving embrace during this most difficult time. I, too, was bereft when I had to put my cat down. So much so, that it took me over 7 years to get another one, because the hurt was so deep and raw. God will strengthen you to do what needs to be done for Tazzie’s sake.
    I am grateful to know that the next few weeks will be somewhat different. I won’t have to be “on”. Trying not to think about the cancelled trip to the beach.
    Dad and I are making plans to see each other on Christmas day.

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