(December 12) The One Word I Want You to See in the Christmas Story
There is one specific word in the Christmas story that has really gripped my heart this year. It is not the first time I have noticed the word, but it has captivated my mind in a unique way. It is a word that provides direction, clarity, conviction, and challenge all at the same time.
Through the years to come, I imagine this one word will continue to jump off the page to me each time I read from Luke 2. It is an amazing thing to read a book that is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.
The shepherds are in the field as they watch over their flock by night. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appears and announces the most amazing news of the universe: Messiah is born this very day! Rightly did Philip Brooks pen, "the hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight."
After the announcement that Christ is born, the angels then gave the shepherds an invitation. They were told to watch for the sign of a baby lying in a manger. The purpose for the sign, of course, was to help them in their searching. The announcement was intended to lead to a response. And, it did!
The shepherds then talked amongst themselves and agreed to go to Bethlehem in order to see all that was taking place. It is at this point of the story that the word that has so gripped my heart is found.
Luke 2:16 "And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger."
Was there a certain word that leaped off the page to you? For me, it is the word, "haste." The shepherds did not simply obey the Lord...the obeyed the Lord with haste. Simply put, they were in a hurry to obey God.
Haste is defined as: "excessive speed or urgency of movement or action." This is the description of how the shepherds obeyed the Lord. I cannot help but evaluate my own life against such a characterization. Do I obey the Lord with excessive speed? Do I do what Scripture calls me to do with urgency?
I have heard it said that delayed obedience is disobedience. The action of the shepherds that first Christmas night shines as an example of how each of us should respond to God's Word. We are to obey and we should obey with haste.
One lesson we can learn this Christmas season is to obey the Bible with "urgency of action." Let us forgive those who hurt us...and forgive quickly. Let us serve one another...and serve immediately. May we share the gospel with those around us...and share with urgency.
The Bible tells us to not be hearers of the Word only, but to do what it says (James 1:22). The example of the shepherds reminds us to do what the Lord says with haste. So...what if? What if we all were resolved to read the Bible, do what it says, and do what it says immediately?
I suspect I will never read the Christmas story again without that one word grabbing my attention. I pray I will also put this word into practice in my life. Lord, help me to obey You and to be in a hurry to do all that You have called me to say and do.
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