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

SCHOLARS HAVE BEEN PUZZLED about why Joseph and Mary were supposedly turned away from all homes and even an inn in Bethlehem when hospitality was a nonnegotiable requirement in the Middle East at that time. Joseph would have had many relatives in Bethlehem to welcome them, and even nonrelatives would have welcomed him as Davidic royalty because he was a Bethlehmite.

Here’s an explanation: “For more than a hundred years scholars resident in the Middle East have understood Luke 2:7 as referring to a family room with mangers cut into the floor at one end.” Simple village homes in Palestine had two rooms. One was exclusively for guests (the upper room or “prophet’s chamber”). The other room was the main room where the entire family cooked, ate, slept, and lived.

At the end of that room by the door was a small area that was lower and cordoned off by timber. Into that area each night were brought the family cow, donkey, and a few sheep. (Animals kept the house warm and they were kept safe inside.) Every morning the animals were taken out and the stall cleaned. Scholars surmise the “inn” (katalyma) was probably that guest room. …

This would mean that Joseph and Mary were graciously accepted into the main room with the family because the “inn” or guest room was full. In that main room would have been a manger for the animals that stayed there at night.

– Jan Johnson
Taste and See

From pages 88-89 of Taste & See: Experiencing the Stories of Advent and Christmas by Jan Johnson. Copyright © 2014 by Jan Johnson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Information about the family room and inn is based on Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth E. Bailey (InterVarsity Press, 2008.) http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Give thanks for the comfort of your home and pray for those who are less comfortable tonight. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the LORD and with the people.

1 Samuel 2:46, NRSV

This Week: Pray for love. 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: John (December 27).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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  • Trackback: The Upper Room Daily Reflections: daily words of wisdom and faith from The United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, United States for Wednesday, 26 December 2018  “No Room in the Inn” – Global Methodist Nazarene Lamb's Hop
  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted December 26, 2018 2:56 am

    Thank you God for the comfort of our home. We uplift those who are less comfortable. May you surround them with love and make them feel comfortable. May all their needs be met. Thank you dear God for hearing our prayers.


  • Jill Posted December 26, 2018 5:04 am

    Thank You, Father – for the home which we have in You. Our Shelter, our Defender – how You wait patiently to welcome us and to lavish us extravagantly with Your Love.
    Thank You for our earthly homes, for safety and warmth. I pray an extra measure of security over Julie and Megan’s home – may the environment be secure and h’s torment lessened.

  • robert moeller Posted December 26, 2018 5:49 am

    This explanation of the place where Jesus was born surely is enlightening and logical. Amazing that it has taken so long to figure this out.

    Yes, I’m very thankful for a warm and dry home and certainly pray for those in need. It’s clear and 4 degrees going up to 22 and then down to 4 again.

    Thankful for a peaceful time yesterday, went for a walk, fresh snow everywhere, sunny skies, the mountain tops were extra white, people out walking, tracks of turkeys, deer, and other wild life. Wonderful meals.

    Christmas continues until Epiphany even though many of us go back to our pre-Advent routines. Interesting how schools are out for most of Christmas with many are back in session just after the new year.

    Prayers that this has been a blessed Christmas and Advent for all of the UR family. God is with us always and helps us make it through tough times that come at the same time as days we celebrate.

    Prayers for Andrea, her daughter, grandson, son-in-law, and Lowell’s ankle; Betsy and Grace, the baby on the way, and prison ministry; Connie and her husband, simple living, and good health; Jill, her Mom, Dad, Becky, and Jill’s school; Julie’s hands, foot, well being, and future, a job for Megan; Lou, her children, and Mom; Marcy’s health, well being, needs, and helper Mary; Mary, her Mom and Dad, sister Molly, and Mary’s new job, tuition students, and classes; prayers too for April, Pam, Rusty & K, Francesca, and all who come to the UR. I’m thankful that God knows you all by name. Thank You,
    Lord. Blessings to all as Christmas continues.

  • robert moeller Posted December 26, 2018 6:05 am

    Julie, I am not familiar with the term “thumb print” cookies. My Mom made “filled cookies”, two dics of dough with jam, usually raspberry, between them and then pressed around the edges. Have to look for the recipe, my sister still makes them, not at all sure they are German, but my Mom’s mother’s parents were Germans from Saxony. I expect the recipe is from my grandmother.

  • Andrea Posted December 26, 2018 11:47 am

    It is the second day of Christmas, I believe. I pray for love to grow in my heart. I felt tense when I went to bed last night, having spent Christmas Day in the company of my sister. Help me, Gracious God, to have an armour of love.

    Robert, thank you for your prayers. I echo your prayers for all UR friends and add my prayers for you, Erich and Anneliese.

    I give thanks for my comfortable home and pray for those who have poor homes, no home, or an unsafe home.

    We are expecting some snow later today. I will get ready for my walk now, a time to appreciate the beauty of this fragile earth we call home.

    Wishing all a blessed day.

  • Trackback: The Upper Room Daily Reflections: daily words of wisdom and faith in Nashville, Tennessee, United States from Monday, 24 December 2018 through Sunday, 30 December 2018 for Wednesday, 26 December 2018 “No Room in the Inn” – Global Methodi

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