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

How do you and I get close to Joseph, who was close to Jesus? I am adept at finding fault and zeroing in on what’s wrong with others. But Jesus came so we would not judge, so we could become merciful and receive mercy ourselves. A judgmental thought rings your doorbell? Don’t answer. A critical remark hangs on your lips? Stay silent. An ugly observation about somebody out there, someone you love, or even yourself, suggests itself? Take a breath, and imagine Joseph hovering lovingly next to Mary, whom he could have despised, and over Jesus, God’s love bundled in the manger.

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

Today’s Question

What can you learn from Joseph about how to treat those with whom you are in relationship?
Join the conversation.

Today’s Scripture

Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly. As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit.”
—Matthew 1:19-20 (CEB)

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 Academy for Spiritual Formation is pleased to announce its newest offering, Spirituality in Practice: Embodied Imagination for Life and Liberation, a unique six-session hybrid model that consists of three in-person five-day retreats as well as three online one-day retreats. Learn more and apply here.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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


  • robert moeller Posted December 13, 2023 7:06 am

    Pay attention to God’s direction in how to treat others. Joseph follows the directions given him in a dream and stays with Mary, helps her, cares for her, is there when Jesus is born. He takes Mary and Jesus to Egypt to protect Jesus from Herod. He brings Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem at the Passover. All of this, and probably more, even though he is not Jesus’s father.
    I think we all wish we knew more about Joseph.
    A busy day yesterday, book study, shopping, car air filter changed, and an errand.By 3 o’clock I was ready for a nap. Slept till 7, watched the news, had something to eat, and after a fashion went back to sleep. Thank You, Lord.

  • Rusty Posted December 13, 2023 9:32 am

    Love matters most.

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