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

Before the looming, mind-boggling, stupendous presence of God in God’s holy place, we quake. It’s all we can muster. In worship, we adore, we bow, we humbly offer a sacrifice we know is nothing to such a great God. … Maybe at Christmas, when we lift our candles and remember that the shepherds quaked, we might quake and recover that lost sense of worship. The Lord is in his holy temple. The Lord came down as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, his garment of light and life, and we fall on our faces, blown away by the magnitude of God’s presence, measured in tiny fingers and a meek cry. We sing, “Christ the Savior is born!”

—James C. Howell, Why This Jubilee? Advent Reflections on Songs of the Season (Upper Room Books, 2015)

Today’s Question

What Christmas traditions help you recognize the magnitude of God’s presence? Join the conversation.

Today’s Scripture

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
—Luke 2:8-9 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

The new year is just around the corner. Don’t forget to order your copy of The Upper Room Disciplines 2021.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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


  • robert moeller Posted December 11, 2020 6:12 am

    Reading, hearing the Christmas story, setting up my nativity scene, prayers, Advent study and devotions, and this site all are part of my awareness of what God did, in God’s sense of time, not so long ago. The angel’s words, “Do not be afraid” comforted the shepherds and now us. So many people need prayers, even more so during this pandemic. Thankful that no matter how many, God can handle them all. How amazing is that! Am able to solve an important problem that arose yesterday. It will be in the mail shortly. Breakfast wth the pastor soon. Have to be up and ready. Thank You, Lord.

  • Julie Posted December 11, 2020 9:00 am

    The Christmas eve service, which I have missed for several years, and the practice the reflection references. This service is by far the most widely attended in the Christian calendar. So many people who never set foot in a church on any other day all come to commemorate the birth of our Savior. They recognize the magnitude of this gift. Together we stand with lighted candles and sing “Silent Night” together and welcome the child that came to save us all.
    Prayers for Robert and his pastor and their continuation of their breakfasts during the pandemic. Where there is a will there is a way.
    Prayers for Jill and her students as they finish the first half of their tumultuous year.
    Prayers for Ally and David. I pray they are well as we have heard nothing in days.
    Prayers for Lou and for all those in her prayer bowl.
    Prayers for Rick and Scott as they continue to move into more permanent housing. May the Christmas spirit find them in their new home and help them find peace.
    I, too, lack the Christmas spirit. I guess that is to be expected during this time and with all the strife and unknowns. The kittens continue to get worse. Today Booker (I call him Bully) is terrorizing Tazzie to the point that Tazzie hides whenever Bully comes within eyesight.

  • Ally Posted December 11, 2020 10:14 am

    The miracle of the birth of Jesus is that God’s magnitude is present in the person of a tiny baby. For me, attending Christmas Eve Communion with my family illuminates this. Meditating on His coming is the essence of Advent. I love celebrating Advent with liturgy involving lighting candles on an Advent wreath and singing Advent Carols. My favorite is O Come O Come, Immanuel. In this different season of Advent, the most meaningful things is my Advent study group. We are studying the book Incarnation by Adam Hamilton. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to bring some joy to their Advent season.
    Some health updates: had appointment with my cardiologist on Tuesday. She adjusted my meds and advised that it is unlikely a new blockage could have developed in the 4 weeks since my heart cath. She said to keep her informed as to things are working out. She recommended I start cardiac rehab, which I really want to do. Please pray that I can adjust my work scheduled to accommodate. I had my 2nd cataract surgery Wednesday and am seeing well and healing well. This is such a blessing. Right now, I only need readers for close work and reading. First time I haven’t needed regular glasses since 3rd grade. That was 1971. I am so thankful. We were able to work something out with payment of court costs. Please pray that God will work in my and David’s hearts regarding his ex and some terrible things she has done. She continually works to try and get him locked up for contempt, though he has completed his child support obligations and tries to turn their children against him. Please pray we can removed the bitterness from our hearts.
    Robert, the rituals of Advent and the routine are immensely comforting right now, even reading stories I always read during advent and Christmas have been balm to my soul. Julie, thanks for the prayers. They are so much appreciated. When David and I married, he moved to my home with his 2 kitties. My kitty Jeremy harassed and bullied David’s kitten, Patrick. We despaired about what to do, as poor Patrick hid in a kitchen cabinet all the time. I read in a cat behavior blog that praise to the bully kitty when he behaves (hard to catch them doing this for sure) and an offer of treats can reinforce the positive behavior. We tried this and it took time, but worked. Patrick and Jeremy are good buddies now. Don’t know if this will work with Booker and Tazzie. Might be worth a try. Good to hear from Rick and Scott. Praying for Lou, Rick, Scott, Marcy, Andrea, April, and other regulars. Praying also for Jill and her dear friends who are battling cancer. Praying for the families of the thousands who have died this week from COVID and that more people will comply with safety measure and develop empathy for others. I pray we all find ways to make Advent meaningful in these times. Be blessed.

  • Jill Posted December 11, 2020 1:50 pm

    The main thing that sticks with me is sitting in silence and stillness at night with only the Christmas tree lit and some candles. I remember watching shadows dance on the walls. Also – the beauty of a simply decorated church sanctuary at night is quite stirring to me. And time with loved ones.
    My morning time has become stagnant and discouraging, so I am shaking things up a bit. Number one – no screen during my morning time. Just stillness and The Word open on my lap – and communication with God.
    I will try to remain faithful here, by posting later in the day.
    My prayers remain with each specific request here, regardless of the timing of my post.
    Ally – grateful along with you for your good news on several levels. Small and significant blessings, both most be proclaimed and acknowledged.
    Speaking of which, my thermometer reads 58 degrees and I am off to meet dad at a park for a walk. Yesterday was above average as well and my friend brought her two dogs over and we walked when I got out of class. I believe it is to rain all day tomorrow, so carpe diem.

  • Rick Posted December 11, 2020 9:55 pm

    What Christmas traditions help you recognize the magnitude of God’s presence? The most memorable for me would be midnight service on Christmas Eve as a young man. Over the years as I became more involved in my faith it would be Advent season. Each week the lighting of the candles and the readings and stories. The themes of Hope, Love, Joy and Peace and each week the Light becomes brighter. I love the late night service when we all have our candles and each lighting from the other as we walk slowly and quietly from the Sanctuary out into the courtyard. We gather around the Christmas Tree and sings carols enjoying some Hot Coco or Cider and enjoying homemade treats. Your posts today really were beautiful and I’ve missed you all dearly. The Light is shining brighter within me. I somehow managed to allow myself to become so isolated and I’ve felt like I’ve been in the desert. I’m trying to keep it simple and allow the Holly Spirt to renew and breath afresh upon me. Blessing to all and know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I’m thinking of the many sojourners that have posted in the past and holding them in my prayers too. Marcy you have been on my thoughts I hope you are doing well.

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