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

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a celebrated writer who, at the pinnacle of his career, was affected by the tragic death of his wife in 1861. … That year, as Longfellow sat at his desk on Christmas Day, he heard the church bells ringing in the distance. His heart, though burdened, longed for God’s help and peace. When he put pen to paper that day, he wrote the following words, lines that eventually became a beloved Advent carol:
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

—Todd Outcalt, Blue Christmas: Devotions of Light in a Season of Darkness (Upper Room Books, 2018)

Today’s Question

In what ways are you longing for God’s help and peace? Join the conversation.

Today’s Scripture

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.

—Psalm 43:5 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Emmanuel, God who is with us, help me remember you are near every day of the year.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

The Upper Room wishes you a blessed Christmas season, full of joy and love, in celebration of the greatest gift of all—Jesus Christ. You can continue to spread the gift of Jesus by giving to The Upper Room. Your tax-deductible gift of any size will impact lives throughout the world.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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


  • robert moeller Posted December 21, 2020 6:07 am

    I pray God’s help and peace will bring an end to this pandemic, belief for my son and daughter, and a future for my son. Thankfully God’s wisdom has helped produce very effective vaccines. All things are possible with God who doesn’t want anyone to be lost.
    All the Advent candles will be lit this week on Christmas Eve. The Light of the World will shine in the darkness. Thank You, Lord. White snow reflects the light’s shine. Thank You. Lord.
    God’s help and peace be with all of you now and always. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

  • Ally Posted December 21, 2020 8:17 am

    This hymn is one of my favorites. The verse that resonates with me when I am in despair goes like this:
    And in despair I bowed my head
    There is no peace on earth I said
    For hate is strong and mocks the song
    Of peace on earth, good will to men

    The raw emotion here and the honesty is real. I have felt this sort of despair. The next verse outlines our hope:

    Then rang the bells more loud and deep
    God is not dead, nor does he sleep (peace on earth, peace on earth)
    The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
    With peace on earth, good will to men

    God is with us in our sorrow, and continues to work, even in the chaos of of the world. God is our peace. Thank You, Lord.
    I have given my notice at work and my last day is 12/31. Never in my 30 years of working full-time have I ever quit a job before finding another. I do have some prospects and feel this is the right decision. I have a real peace about this. Please continue to pray for us.
    Jill, I pray you find the peace I know you feel when you go to the beach at home. I know it is not the same. Lou, prayers for you and your family. I know you will enjoy your daughter being home. Robert, thank you for the beautiful prayer. I am in agreement with you. I’m praying for your son and daughter, that they find peace in the Lord. Julie, I’ve thought about you and prayed for you all weekend as you mourn little Tazzie. I thankful you have those bad little kitties and pray they bring you some comfort.
    Praying for all who visit this forum, that we find peace on earth. Blessings to all.

  • Julie Posted December 21, 2020 8:54 am

    Thank you all for your prayers and kind words. I related to Megan how this groupis unique in that we all come here for because of our faith, but we are also all pet lovers. It is unusual to find a diverse group who are all so close to their pets. I need the Lord’s help and peace regarding Tazzie’s passing, h and also Megan. Megan may have been exposed to the coronavirus and she is sick. But what she has is more sinus related it seems and she has never had a fever for the several days she has been ill. H has decided to stand outside my bedroom door in the morning while I am getting my shower, etc and yelling and rattling the door to the point that I fear it will break. He has done this the past 2 days and I am at my wit’s end.
    Prayers for Jill as she enjoys a much needed and deserved break.
    Prayers for Robert and his children. May they find the peace and joy that are his through his faith.
    Prayers for Ally and David. Prayers for Ally’s decision which was not easy. I pray a new job becomes available quickly.
    Prayers for Lou and her daughter, may both be safe ay home and may they have a wonderful Christmas.

    • Ally Posted December 21, 2020 12:51 pm

      Julie, I am praying for your and Megan’s safety and that Megan will be well soon and not have the virus. Prayers continue for y’all as you mourn the passing of little Tazzie.

  • Jill Posted December 21, 2020 11:53 am

    I am longing for God’s help and peace in two areas. First (and continued) – comfort and peace for dad. I hate that the end of his life has to be filled with such sorrow and isolation. I thought he was maybe doing a little better, but he continues to come across things mom had burrowed away – and he slowly goes through each one and cries. He gives me a stack of things – homemade cards from me from when I could barely write. Report card from elementary school. A script of the Christmas play I was in as a second grader – playing a butterfly – with my lines highlighted. He said it is so sad. It’s like a trainwreck. He can’t help but go through all the things, but then feels worse for having done it. It seems too much, losing mom and then forced into solitude with the pandemic.
    Second – my discouragement and struggle with school. As I was grading one of my sets of exams last night – it became evident that three of my students had cheated. Last night it was disappointment and I decided to sleep on it. This morning – it was anger. I wrote a letter to my program’s coordinator and she said this is an explicit disregard for the academic honesty contract we have the students sign. She then reached out to the principal – and he was definitely disappointed, as 2 of the 3 students were homecoming king and queen, one is a class officer and the other is on student council. The fall-out could be really bad. He asked me to provide him with evidence – and put it all together for him. I electronically shared all that I had, with him and the coordinator. I received emails from 2 of the students – denying it – which just infuriates me even more. I mean, I guess that is what they would do – but I still have this blind hope. Foolish. So – a lot of internal struggle with this. One positive thing – it fueled my morning run. I want them to have consequences, but the IB coordinator is suggesting they receive an F for the exam. I wasn’t thinking that extreme. And as far as removal of senior class officer, NHS removal, etc…kids will be kids…but I wish they also would fess up to what was blatantly and undeniably done. My pride is hurt…#1 that they would cheat and think I wouldn’t notice and #2 – then deny it. And this was the class I thought I had such a good rapport with and took them on a virtual tour of my house. Just stings…Should be interesting how my principal handles it. He has mentored 2 of the students super hard, encouraging them to remain in this challenging program, which may have been a slight reach. I know he is disappointed.

    • Ally Posted December 21, 2020 1:01 pm

      Jill, my heart breaks for Larry and for you too, as you see him grieve for your mom. May God grant both of you comfort. Praying for wisdom for you as decide how to deal with the cheating issue

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