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 Joseph, we are invited to wait upon the Lord—to trust that, in time, something marvelous and momentous will take shape out of our sufferings and difficulties. God is not the bearer of bad news but instead brings hope and encouragement. God does not cause our pain but desires to deliver us from it.

This year, consider the hope of Christmas through these fresh eyes, especially through your places of discouragement. God does not leave us to our own ends but can transform a hopeless situation into one filled with grace and love and the very presence of God.

—Todd Outcalt, Blue Christmas: Devotions of Light in a Season of Darkness (Upper Room Books, 2018)

Today’s Question

What discouragement do you need to allow God to transform with love and presence? Join the conversation.

Today’s Scripture

Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”
—Matthew 1:19-20 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Emmanuel, God who is with us, help me remember you are near every day of the year.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

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Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Christmas Eve

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


  • Julie Posted December 24, 2020 8:45 am

    No need to enumerate mine again although I would add that today is the day that Megan and I would have been traveling to visit my family for the holiday were it not for the pandemic.
    Megan gets tested this morning but of course we will not have the results for several days. She felt better yesterday and neither of us have had a fever. Her father refuses to get tested and Megan is angry and told him she would not see him again until he tests negative. I believe she made a mature decision.
    Prayers for safe travel for Ally and David and may all who gather be safe and well and enjoy their time together.
    Prayers for Jill and Larry as they celebrate together with a favorite Italian meal. I will also have italian and Megan and I will make the lasagna together another day. I pray you stay safe with the upcoming storm. We, of course, will have the same storm and the meteorologists have said there is the risk of a flash freeze. Stay safe dear friend.
    Prayers for Robert and his church. May all find hope in the trees standing centinel before the church and may all be safe and well as they worship our Saviour’s arrival.
    Prayers for all the UR family, silent and commentor alike, those who visit and those who tend.

  • Jill Posted December 24, 2020 10:40 am

    I need to continue to go before the great Throne of Grace and openly pour out my pleas to Him. Yes, He is sovereign over all. He has been so merciful since mom passed and will continue to be – and I proclaim His sovereignty anew. I may have several years left with dad or maybe much less, but I will try to appreciate all of our moments together and be mindful of proclaiming God’s goodness.
    We have decided to stay put today, and hope that by tomorrow – the weather will have passed and the roads will be good enough for one of us to get to the other’s house.
    I am finally back in a frame of mind where I can grade – so have been back at it this morning. And will likely spend the remainder of the time until supper grading. I took a brief nap this morning – how I love morning naps.
    My church is putting its Christmas Eve service on line – so will watch that this evening. I think those who have planned to attend services this evening, may be changing their minds as the snow becomes impactful this afternoon. I am grateful to not be out today.
    Father – for the group who gathers here – You are sovereign over our circumstances. Help us to trust Your timing, Your working and live deeply into Your Great Grace. Abide with us and continue Your transforming work – in our weaknesses, ailments, sorrow and struggle. May Christ be born afresh in us.

  • April Posted December 24, 2020 10:49 am

    The themes of our Advent services have bee to see, respond, celebrate as we look to the light and the coming of our Savior’s birth. Celebrate, as in the singing of the carols, marveling at the brightly colored lights adorning the evergreen trees, putting a new star on the top of our Christmas tree this year and thinking of the Christmas Star (Jupiter and Saturn) in the sky the other night. I almost felt like the shepherds looking up and seeing the bright star!!
    I have been surrounding myself with a milieu (remember that “old” word …a person’s social environment) and finding that I am filling my soul with joy, not the happy, toe tapping actions….but deep joy in looking up, looking around, feeling Christ and knowing that He indeed is leading and I am following.
    Remember when I wrote about offering to write to those at a youth center. Well, I never heard back so crossed that off my list. Then, our church sent out a request for us to write personal notes to teachers at a high school that is close to our church. They sent me 5 names and I had such fun writing and decorating the notes. A week later there was another school to send notes to…and I did. I also remembered that our neighbor’s girlfriend was a teacher and he had mentioned what a tough time she was having with the year. I told him about our church’s outreach and he said she would enjoy that, so I did. I put it in a white paper bag and tied it to the gate with her name on it so when she got home, there it was for her. You can’t imagine the joy that her text filled me with when she wrote to thank me and let me know that a few kind words were so appreciated during this hard year. Since then we have texted off and on, with me sending encouraging words that she can do it. Now she is on break and hopefully be rested up when classes…online or inperson…resume next year.
    Jill, my hear went out to you as you wrote of discovering cheating among your students. Hard to grasp that students would do this when you as a teacher are giving your all to help them learn. Bless you that you have the support of your administration as they take it from here. I know it must have been a shock to you as you discovered this, and then to read your thoughts as you went through the grieving process. Thank you for being a teacher who cares and teaches life lessons as you teach academic lessons.
    Robert, I think your Advent study must be most enlightening as you learn more and reflect on your life. Your prayers are spot on for everyone and our world. May you continue to shine your light in our dark world.
    Julie, I have just caught up that Tazzy has passed….I am so sad to hear. I pray for your health and that of Megan….physically and mentally. I read of your strong faith as you “rely on the light and believe that light will come again.”
    Ally, I pray that you and David have a safe trip to see your sister. What fun to look forward to being in the kitchen with her and baking favorites. I also pray that the way ahead will open to you as your last days of your present job come to a close. I feel you feel you are being led as you have taken this one step and have confidence that The Lord will land your next step in exactly the right place. May He watch over your and David’s health.
    Lou, I am thinking of you with your family at Christmas…..whether in person or virtually….your love for each of them will fill their hearts.
    To all others in our UR family, I lift you up to our Father, Savior, and the Holy Spirit who is with us everyday. May there be Joy and Light as we Celebrate God’s precious Gift to all….your sister in faith as we wait upon the Lord.

  • robert moeller Posted December 24, 2020 12:41 pm

    Many blessed and holy thoughts expressed here today. Despite being up early and checking my computer several times, it has taken a while to both find and respond to today’s reflection. Thankful for the prayers for this oasis and the people it connects.

    Just came back from a trip to first photograph the church, and then pick up some as minute food items.
    From 6:30-7 there will be music and lights on the ZOOM connection to the Christmas Eve service tonight. Just because this Christmas is DIFFERENT doesn’t make it less meaningful. The day will come when we look back at this time and remember thankfully that worship, Christmas, Emanuel was all possible. Thank You, Lord.

    Like Jill and Larry, it will be a different meal tomrrow, one we anticipate, but certainly not traditional . While it is a German meal, it’s not what Germans have at Christmas.

    Safety, warmth, connections two loved ones, the joy of the Christmas message, God’s peace and love, and the fellowship of this group are all on my mind. In a few short hours the memory of God coming to be with us will be celebrated, recognized, and accepted. Thank You, Lord.

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