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Responding to the Wonder of Christmas:
Part 3 – Action

December 29, 2021 • Life for Leaders

Scripture – Luke 2:16 (NRSV)

So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.

Focus

In this season of Christmas, as you reflect on the implications of the birth of Christ, be open to what God might lead you to do. As this becomes clear to you, like the shepherds in the biblical story, act with determination, perhaps even with haste. Do faithfully whatever God has placed upon your heart.

Today’s devotion is part of the series Responding to the Wonder of Christmas. It’s also part of the series Following Jesus Today.

Devotion

So far in this devotional series, Responding to the Wonder of Christmas, I’ve been examining the response of the shepherds to their angelic visitors. Fear was their first response. Then, after being reassured and hearing the good news of the Savior’s birth, the shepherds opted for resolution. They resolved to go to check out what the angels had told them.

And then they went. Just like that. They didn’t just mosey on over to Bethlehem, either. Rather, Luke says, “they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger” (Luke 2:16). The Greek phrase translated as “went with haste” literally reads “they went hurrying” or “they went exercising special effort.” Having resolved to find the newborn Savior, they went quickly, intentionally, and resolutely. After fear and resolution, there was action.

Sometimes, of course, it isn’t wise to act hurriedly. Too many times when I’m traveling, for example, I don’t leave enough time for a leisurely departure from my hotel room. I have to hurry to pack my bags so as to make my plane flight on time. In my haste, I forget valuable items in my room. Over the years, I’ve lost about five chargers, two shirts, two pairs of pants, and at least one pillow. I’m not generally a careless or forgetful person. But when I’m hurrying, I can overlook crucial details.

Though moving quickly isn’t always advisable, sometimes it is warranted. Appropriate haste can mean that you won’t miss your flight. Or that you’ll get to the store on time to buy the very last item that your child wants for Christmas. But what strikes me as most important about the action of the shepherds was not their haste but their determination and focus. Once they resolved to find the baby Jesus, they didn’t dawdle. They weren’t distracted. They acted on their resolution not just hastily, but wholeheartedly.

You may not have a clear sense of what God wants you to do in response to the reality of Christmas. That’s okay. One thing you really can’t hurry is God. So, if you’re unsure of what action you should take, don’t force the matter. Rather, continue to be open to whatever God might be showing you.

But if you feel confident about God’s leading, if you’ve come to a solid resolution about what’s needed, then perhaps you will be encouraged by the shepherds to take action. Maybe even action without delay. Maybe even action with haste. But remember, the speed of action isn’t the main point. Acting with confidence, focus, and wholeheartedness is the main point.

In this season of Christmas, as you reflect on the implications of the birth of Christ, be open to what God might lead you to do. As this becomes clear to you, like the shepherds in the biblical story, act with determination, perhaps even with haste. Do faithfully whatever God has placed upon your heart.

Reflect

Is there anything in your life that you know you should do, but that you’ve been putting off? If so, why are you procrastinating?

Do you sense that God wants you to do something tangible in response to the reality of Christmas? If so, what is it?

Act

Act on whatever God has put on your heart!

Pray

Gracious God, thank you for the example of the shepherds. Once they resolved to go to Bethlehem to find the baby Jesus, they went. And they didn’t just go leisurely. They went with haste, with intentionality, with resolution.

Lord, help me to do, with determination, that which you have placed on my heart. If I’m holding back because of fear, give me confidence. If I’m simply procrastinating, help me to choose to act. If I’m allowing myself to be distracted by all measures of things – especially technology – help me to focus so that I might act.

And may all I do, Lord, give you glory. Amen.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Once It All Came Together


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