One of the Reformation's primary tenets was "sola fide" or "faith alone." Luther wanted to get away from a works-based road to heaven and back to what he understood to be the essential element of salvation, namely faith.
Our scripture this morning came from James, which Luther once referred to as an "epistle of straw." After all the debates are over, however, we can affirm both "faith alone" and James' point: "It’s that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend.” Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works" (James 2: 23-24, The Message)?
What do faithful people do? Good works. And so, the work of Christmas continues.