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

Scripture Passage:Luke 1:5-25

Incense was offered before the daily morning sacrifice and after the evening sacrifice so that the “sacrifices might go up to God wrapped in an envelope of sweet-smelling incense.” Zechariah would have stood alone in the holy place with the altar of incense before him. After lighting the incense, he would have bowed to worship, but he was interrupted.

—Jan Johnson, Taste and See: Experiencing the Stories of Advent and Christmas (Upper Room Books, 2014)

Today’s Question

How might Zechariah have felt when his name was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense? Join the conversation.

Today’s Scripture

Once when [Zechariah] was serving as priest before God and his section
was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the
priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense.
—Luke 1:8-9 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Let us release the cares of our day,
and open our eyes to the wonder of God.

With an attitude of empathy to people of another time,
let us open our hearts and minds to God.

Let us prepare to experience God’s word to us
through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer by Jan Johnson
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 2023.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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


  • robert moeller Posted December 13, 2022 7:03 am

    Zechariah may have felt blessed, humbled, fortunate (such opportunities were rare even for priests), and thankful. He has no idea the surprise that is coming. It’s amazing that we have this story since only Zechariah had this experience.
    Continued cold with highs in the 30s, snow making underway at ski areas, natural snow in the forecast.
    Ready to paint the last room as part of prep for a sale. More work to do before we’re ready and the market needs to improve.
    John the Baptist’s ministry is today’s book study topic. Comparing Matthew and Luke accounts, John’s message, audience, then baptizing those who came to the Jordan.
    Prayers and blessings through Advent to all. Wednesday is post review day.
    Thank You, ever present Lord, as we continue on our faith journey.

  • Ally Posted December 13, 2022 8:32 am

    I’m sure Zechariah felt honored by God and humbled as God’s servant. His reaction to Angel Gabriel was human and that of a seasoned adult. My cynical self may have questioned as well. Would that we could be like Mary and trust the Lord as she did. Joseph too.
    I attended David’s care plan meeting and family education, observing therapy and seeing where we are. He will need a lot of help when he comes home. The therapists feel that as therapy at home and then outpatient, he will grow stronger and regain function. As things are now, he will need 24/7 supervision. It is all very overwhelming. I also had to kitty Jeremy to the vet, as he presented with symptoms of urinary blockage. I had to check him in and let him stay overnight. Will call around 10 to see how he is. With all that is going on with us, I feel so hopeless today. I also received news that my dear friend has stage 4 bone cancer. Her prognosis is very poor. I thank God for our NEM community and the love and support we have here. Right now NEM helps me find comfort in waiting during this advent season. Thanks to all for your prayers and know that I hold you close in prayer as well. Blessings to all.

  • Julie Posted December 13, 2022 9:34 am

    The inner santuary was a very sacred place and very few were ever permitted to enter. I know I would feel blessed and honored but also terrified. He was given a crucial functiion to perform, I would worry about doing everything correctly especially given the holy nature of both the location and his duty.
    Spent yesterday attempting to reach by phone several organizations from which I needed information. Both were frustrating. The Pensylvania DOT actually has an automated system that says that everyone is too busy to answer your call and hangs up on you! The other had me leave a message which I did but I doubted it would result in a return call. However, this morning I received a call and my issue was resolved! I actually lost sleep last night over this issue and I thanked God for the resolution.

  • Jill Posted December 13, 2022 4:44 pm

    Maybe Zechariah felt chosen by God, and if experiencing this in the truest sense, would feel empowered by God to appropriately fulfill his duties, going forth with confidence. Yet, with the reaction later on, regarding his son to be, it is more likely that he had a very human reaction, despite fully trusting God, and was overwhelmed.
    Last night hundreds of parents and teachers attended our school board’s meeting – with two of our teachers addressing the superintendent and the board. It was very impassioned. We found out today that this week’s meeting with the federal mediator got pushed back to the 20, 27 and 28, due to illnesses on both sides of the table.
    School is moving along…kinda wrapping instruction up and preparing for next week’s 3 days of exams.
    Off to my god son’s basketball game this evening. Had a long talk with his mom today, after school. She and her husband had quite a serious conversation, which was overheard by her son. He called his sister, away at school – and the kids are definitely on to the troubles at home. It is heartbreaking.
    Additionally, my friend had some bloodwork come back with pretty unfavorable results. More testing lies ahead. Another stressor she does not need. Thank you for your prayers on her behalf.

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