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

Like many Advent and Christmas traditions, the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” has differing interpretations, layers of meaning, and a questionable history. … Leaving the song aside, both the Western and Eastern Church (now known as the Orthodox branch) have celebrated the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany, Epiphany being the traditional day celebrating the coming of the magi or wise men. Advent was the season of preparation with its four Sundays, followed by twelve days to celebrate the wonderful gift of God becoming human and dwelling with us. I am not sure if the popular song helps us, but it has firmly planted the twelve days of Christmas in our minds.

—Larry J. Peacock, The Living Nativity: Preparing for Christmas with Saint Francis (Upper Room Books, 2018)

Today’s Question

How are you keeping Christmas alive during the twelve days? Join the conversation.

Today’s Scripture

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”
—Matthew 2:1-2 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Creator God, Give me wisdom to learn from the blessings, stresses, and sorrows of all that lies behind, and give me the strength and hope to press on to what lies ahead.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

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Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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


  • robert moeller Posted December 28, 2020 7:38 am

    While the Advent wreath has been put away, the Nativity scene no longer has shepherds. The Bible tells us the wise men came to a house not the stable. I am sure Mary and Joseph wanted a better place once the birth had taken place. Mathew writes “9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. ” Tradition says there were three, we don’t know for sure, named Casper, Melchior, and Balthazar. Mathew says their gifts were gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I’m waiting for their arrival. It will have to be at the stable, my nativity scene doesn’t have a house. The song’s only real Biblical benefit is acknowledging the existence of the 12 days between Jesus’ birth and their arrival.

    From Sunday’s scripture reading we heard that Jesus has already been taken to the temple in Jerusalem and his status as Messiah recognized by two elderly people there.

    This has been a very different, but in many ways more meaningful Advent, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, now Christmastide for me. Very thankful for the Wesleyan “All Most Christmas” Advent Bible study and the continuing devotional. A Wesleyan Covenant Service tomorrow.

    Prayers of thanks for the government assistance to people during this pandemic, not happy it is late, but the benefits will help many who are very much in need. Prayers that all of you have come through this holy season encouraged, uplifted, sustained, and prepared for the New Year. The time will come when more people are vaccinated than are dying and a return to what we understand as “normal” will occur.
    With God there is hope eternal. Thank You, Lord.

  • Ally Posted December 28, 2020 8:43 am

    I continue to sing and listen to Christmas carols and meditate on the Incarnation, as that has been the subject of the Zoom study I have been a part of. I have been asking God how I as God’s child, can be God’s hands so that my life is a reflection of that Incarnation. God is Emmanuel–God with us. How can I speak peace to others in light of Emmanuel?
    I pray everyone had a nice Christmas Day. David and I spent the day with my sister and her husband. It was a quiet day. Amy and I cooked Christmas dinner and we exchanged small gifts. We missed not going to church on Christmas Eve. We enjoyed being with family and David said he feels that he is part of our family, so that makes ,me happy. My last day of work is Thursday. I feel I need this break to re-group and seek God.
    Julie, I’m glad you have some clarity about dealing with H in a peaceful way. Still praying for your and Megan’s safety and for a peaceful resolution. Robert, thank you for keeping Christmas and reminding us that there is hope. Jill, I pray you and Larry had a nice day on Christmas Day and am also praying for your situation and the students. I pray God will cause them to examine their hearts. Lifting up your former student as she faces surgery. Praying for healing for her. I too find Marcy’s absence for so long to be concerning. I pray she is well. Lou, praying that you and your family had a meaningful Christmas. Thankful for our furry friends during these crazy times. I heard this morning that the bomber in Nashville has been identified. Praying that healing for Nashville can begin. Love to all.

    • Julie Posted December 28, 2020 8:52 am

      I am glad you and David had a nice Chritmas and safe travel. I pray you find a new job quickly.
      Prayers for Jill’s former player, may her surgery be successful in removing all the cancer with minimun tissue loss.

  • Julie Posted December 28, 2020 8:47 am

    I never knew this was the meaning of the song. But it does make sense. I am haviing a difficult time with sustaining the Christmas Spirit as I never had it in the first place. Too much has happened and continues to happen in my life. Megan’s COVID test was positive. I thank God that I have not gotten sick but of course we are not out of the woods yet. She is almost totally free of symptoms so we have continued as we have been. I can only say the it is because of God’s sovereign care that I am not sick. She never had a fever so we never truly thought that she had the virus.
    Prayers for Robert and his continued study of the Bible. I would love to engage in Bible study. I wonder if churches allow those who have no options online to join their services and studies?
    Prayers for Jill and Larry as they continue to enjoy spending time together watching sports. I also watched footballl yesterday as the Steeler’s won a very hard fought game.
    Prayers for safe travel for Ally and David.
    Prayers for Marcy who I reached via text message. She is extremely depressed and unwilling to speak on the phone.

    • Ally Posted December 28, 2020 9:17 am

      Many prayers for Marcy. Our Bible study group would love to have you participate with us. It is open to all. Our next study is a Lenten study and will start in February. Our church and my sister’s church (they sponsor the Bible study) both do online services that anyone can receive. If you feel comfortable giving me some contact information, I’ll send you some links.

      • Julie Posted December 28, 2020 6:19 pm

        Thank you so much
        My email is julie020664@gmail.com

        • Ally Posted December 29, 2020 8:36 am

          Will send you links from Facebook if that is ok, as that is where our churches have posted their services.

  • Jill Posted December 28, 2020 10:24 am

    I am not sure how “alive” Christmas was for me this year. It is just so utterly different and utterly isolated. I would say, if anything, I was too distracted to consider Christmas as I normally would. And there weren’t circumstances…beauty of a church sanctuary decorated, my mom’s exquisite decorating of her home, out and about in the evening to notice lights, Christmas season activities at church.
    While I certainly notice the difference of not being “on” in front of a camera with my students, my days are relatively the same…packed full with grading.
    My heart is heavy concerning my student today. She is in surgery right now. Anxiously awaiting news from her parents.
    Julie – I would think most churches would welcome visitors into their on-line studies and activities currently going on. Do impart to Marcy that we are keeping her in our prayers. I am grateful that you shared your “noticing” with us. May it in encourage you in your encounters with h going forward. God is indeed with you.
    Ally – may this transition time between jobs be replenishing for you. So glad you were able to have that time with your sister and that David is fitting “right in”.

  • Richard Hochsprung Posted December 28, 2020 5:01 pm

    I am honoring the light in my heart that was brought on Christmas by lighting candles, keeping the lights on the tree and decorations in and around my condo, showing kindness to others with an open non- judgmental attitude, spending time in prayer and meditation.

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