“I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:8, NASB)
One of the special delights of Christmas is how its true meaning often breaks through to us in unexpected ways in spite of our frantic pace. We glimpse it in the sheer joy on a child’s face, in the generosity of a friend, in the midst of serving strangers or being served by them. What God did through sending His only Son into the world surprises and humbles us afresh even when we are least prepared to see it!
If we look for it, we can find the essence of the Christmas story recounted throughout the Bible, not just in the expected places in Matthew and Luke. Hebrews 10:5–10 sees the Christmas theme revealed ahead of time in the Old Testament—in David’s words in Psalm 40:6–8. When David declared, “Behold, I come . . . I delight to do Your will, O my God” (Ps. 40:7–8), he expressed his fervent commitment to obey what God expected of Israel’s king as revealed in Scripture (Deut. 17:18–20). David knew that such wholehearted dedication to hear and do what God says was more pleasing to Him than the ritual offerings stipulated by the Law (1 Sam. 15:22; Ps. 51:16–17).
David’s devotion was certainly earnest, though ultimately incomplete, but Hebrews sees in it a foreshadowing of the perfect obedience of Jesus Christ, David’s greater son, as He entered our world that first Christmas (Heb. 10:5). And in the contrast that Psalm 40 traces between the “sacrifices and offerings” of the Law and fully doing “God’s will,” Hebrews sees the transformation from Old to New accomplished by Christ’s offering of Himself as the ultimate and perfect sacrifice. The old sacrifices could never deal effectively with sin (Heb. 10:1–4), but Jesus accomplished the Father’s will in making us holy through the offering of His body once for all (Heb. 10:10). The story of Christmas in an unexpected place!