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God works in surprising ways.

God breaks into the world with amazing love in ways we never would have imagined or expected.

God might surprise you too, if you open your heart with anticipation.

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Listen

When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child. Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them. Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told.

Luke 2:15-20

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Think

Yesterday’s devotion posed the question, “Can the shepherds set aside their fear and go to find the Christ child?” Today’s Scripture answers this question with a resounding YES! They hurry to meet the newborn Messiah. At the manger, it seems any other fears they harbored vanish, because the shepherds then go out to become the first proclaimers of the news of the newborn king.

But the shepherds aren't the only ones reassured in today’s passage. Luke tells us that Mary ponders and treasures all that happened in her heart. The arrival of the shepherds – the social outcasts you probably wouldn’t invite to your baby shower – erase whatever doubts she had after the arduous journey to Bethlehem. They're an unexpected source of God's grace and affirmation.

Once again, God's love surprises us by breaking through in dramatic ways. As you keep treasuring the Christmas story in your heart this week, ponder what unexpected ways God may be seeking to break through to you with love, grace, and affirmation. And to whom may you be called to proclaim this amazing story?

Tracy Hartman

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Pray

Loving God, open my heart to receive your love and good news, even and especially when it comes from surprising places. Amen.

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Go

Now go into the world with hope and anticipation, with your heart wide open to God’s ongoing work in the world.

Tracy Hartman

Tracy Hartman mostly recently served on the faculty of Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. She enjoys coaching clergy and serving as an intentional interim pastor. She and her husband Jay live in Richmond, VA.

Sing We Now

Nathan Hanson

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