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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

When we feel that God is asking us to do something important or we feel God’s call to serve or to help others, we want to be at our best. Just as we would want to give our best to our boss or company, we should offer no less to God. Faith is what keeps us alive and awake, and when we freshen our faith through service and dedication to the things of God, we are made all the bolder and more vibrant in our abilities to focus on the tasks God has laid before us.

Today, give your best effort when you help a neighbor or when you are listening to someone who is looking for advice or a confidant. Staying fresh and alert is just another way of remaining hopeful and faithful in our journey with God.

—Todd Outcalt, Let Us Go Now to Bethlehem: Daily Devotions for Advent and Christmas (Upper Room Books, 2020)

Today's Question

In what ways can you keep your faith fresh and alert by giving your best effort to God? Join the conversation.

Today's Scripture

Therefore, stay alert! You don’t know what day the Lord is coming.
—Matthew 24:42 (CEB)

Prayer for the Week

God, the One who has brought all things into existence, I welcome the expected and the unexpected love and lessons you will bring today.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Gather your small group or congregation with our private classrooms.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

4 Comments | Join the Conversation.

 

Today's Reflection

During these weeks preceding Christmas, we restore color and beauty to our homes, we cast light into darkened corners, and we restore our spirits with song and mirth. As Christians, there is a growing awareness for us that a new year is approaching as Advent begins and, with it, new promises of grace and goodness. God is always at work restoring.

Today, you might take note of these hopes and dreams. Perhaps you can consider the broken places that need to be mended, the lackluster that can be brightened, the rough edges of life that need to be made smooth. That is God’s work. God’s business. And today can be the day of restoration.

—Todd Outcalt, Let Us Go Now to Bethlehem: Daily Devotions for Advent and Christmas (Upper Room Books, 2020)

Today's Question

Where do you need God’s restoration in your life? Join the conversation.

Today's Scripture

When the LORD changed Zion’s circumstances for the better,
it was like we had been dreaming.
Our mouths were suddenly filled with laughter;
our tongues were filled with joyful shouts.
It was even said, at that time, among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them!”

—Psalm 126:1-2 (CEB)

Prayer for the Week

God, the One who has brought all things into existence, I welcome the expected and the unexpected love and lessons you will bring today.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Gather your small group or congregation with our private classrooms.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

6 Comments | Join the Conversation.

 

Today's Reflection

When we acknowledge God’s abiding presence over our mortality, we enter the timelessness of God—the One who has brought all things into existence and stands over and above time itself. Thinking about such imponderable matters gives us patience, fortitude, and—ultimately—faith. We cannot give ourselves eternal life. We cannot give ourselves another day of life. We do not create our own experiences. All of these are gifts of God. Today, as you ponder how far you have come and the dangers and trials that you have been spared, give thanks. Our lives are gathered up—have already been gathered up—into the timelessness of Eternal God. Thanks be to God.

—Todd Outcalt, Let Us Go Now to Bethlehem: Daily Devotions for Advent and Christmas (Upper Room Books, 2020)

Today's Question

How can you show your gratitude for God’s timeless care in your life? Join the conversation.

Today's Scripture

Don’t let it escape your notice, dear friends, that with the Lord a single day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a single day.
—2 Peter 3:8 (CEB)

Prayer for the Week

God, the One who has brought all things into existence, I welcome the expected and the unexpected love and lessons you will bring today.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Gather your small group or congregation with our private classrooms.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

4 Comments | Join the Conversation.

 

Today's Reflection

As we become aware of our fears, we can hand them over to God so that we can truly experience the grace God affords us. We can begin to live by faith, not by fear. The wonder of the Bethlehem journey is not only in the arrival; sometimes, the wonder can be revealed when we embrace the journey and decide to take a first step of faith, just like the shepherds. They had to be willing to leave behind their fears and their cares and step across the hills and valleys that were awaiting them on the way to Bethlehem. Our lives are no less fearful or arduous. We have our hills and valleys to navigate. But God has offered us the same good news: Come and see what God has done!

—Todd Outcalt, Let Us Go Now to Bethlehem: Daily Devotions for Advent and Christmas (Upper Room Books, 2020)

Today's Question

What fears do you need to leave behind? Join the conversation.

Today's Scripture

The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people.”
—Luke 2:10 (CEB)

Prayer for the Week

God, the One who has brought all things into existence, I welcome the expected and the unexpected love and lessons you will bring today.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Gather your small group or congregation with our private classrooms.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

3 Comments | Join the Conversation.

 

Today's Reflection

Perhaps transformation is needed in the Advent journey toward Bethlehem. Perhaps we need to see things and people in new ways, to listen to the Spirit through new ears, to hear the cry of the needy as a cry of hope and salvation. During the days ahead, what transformations might be helpful to you and your family? Are there alluring temptations that need to be ignored? Are there sacrifices that need to be made to see Christ’s love in new ways?

—Todd Outcalt, Let Us Go Now to Bethlehem: Daily Devotions for Advent and Christmas (Upper Room Books, 2020)

Today's Question

As you begin your Advent journey, reflect on the author’s questions for today. Join the conversation.

Today's Scripture

Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.
—Romans 12:2 (CEB)

Prayer for the Week

God, the One who has brought all things into existence, I welcome the expected and the unexpected love and lessons you will bring today.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Gather your small group or congregation with our private classrooms.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

4 Comments | Join the Conversation.

 

Today's Reflection

Advent begins—and in fact, the entirety of the Christian journey begins—at the point where we accept Jesus as our Guide and begin to walk with his calm assurances in the midst of our fears.

He’s going to meet us, he tells us. He’s going to show up, even if we don’t know when or how. Jesus even invites us to look for his presence in the lives and faces of others. He may come to us at unexpected moments or when we are most tired or worn or confused. He may show up at the beginning or appear at the end of all things, when we least expect God’s redemption or grace. What a promise!

—Todd Outcalt, Let Us Go Now to Bethlehem: Daily Devotions for Advent and Christmas (Upper Room Books, 2020)

Today's Question

What helps you stay alert for God’s presence on your journey? Join the conversation.

Today's Scripture

Therefore, stay alert! You don’t know when the head of the household will come, whether in the evening or at midnight, or when the rooster crows in the early morning or at daybreak. Don’t let him show up when you weren’t expecting and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: Stay alert!
—Mark 13:35-37 (CEB)

Prayer for the Week

God, the One who has brought all things into existence, I welcome the expected and the unexpected love and lessons you will bring today.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Gather your small group or congregation with our private classrooms.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

4 Comments | Join the Conversation.