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Where Christmas Began an Advent Meditation

By December 17, 2014April 23rd, 2022History & Holidays4 min read

Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened; burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, “Behold, I come; in the scroll of the Book it is written of Me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within My heart” (Psalm 40:6-8).

In Psalm 40 David spoke about his own willingness to submit to God and to make an offering of his heart and life before Him. Yet the Holy Spirit took these words of passionate devotion and gave them a higher purpose: to reflect the heart of God’s own Son as He came into the world. That is exactly how Psalm 40 is quoted in Hebrews 10:5-7. This passage tells us where Christmas began.

It wasn’t in the department stores. It wasn’t with Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol and all the trappings of a Victorian Christmas. It wasn’t with Santa Claus, or even Saint Nicholas. It wasn’t with Mary and Joseph in a stable. It wasn’t even with the announcement of Gabriel to Mary and Joseph that Mary would bear a child by the Holy Spirit. To get to where Christmas began, we have to leave planet earth entirely, and bring ourselves into the very throne room of God. There, before the foundation of the world, in the eternal counsels of the One God in three Persons, is where Christmas began. It began in heaven, and when God the Father agreed to send; when God the Son agreed to go; and when God the Holy Spirit agreed to guide.

Christmas began because something was lacking. This is reflected in the words, “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire.” The reason sacrifice and offering are necessary is because of sin. Yet the sacrifices of animals in the Old Testament were not enough – and whatever sacrifice we make in our life is not enough to take away our sin. Because sacrifice and offering are not enough, God knew that we needed Christmas.

Christmas began because Someone was willing. The words, “My ears You have opened” mean that Jesus was willing to be the servant of the Father. In ancient Israel a slave had to be freed after a certain period of time. But if the slave was willing to continue serving his master, he could – by a special ceremony where the servant’s ear was “opened” or pierced as a mark of the willing slave. It showed that he was devoted to his master out of love, not obligation. This is also reflected in the words, “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.” Jesus was willing to be the servant we needed to gain our salvation. He was willing not only to “feel” the feelings of a servant, but to also “do”the duties of a servant. That is why our Bible passage says, “Behold, I come…” which are “doing” words, not merely “feeling” words.

Christmas began because Someone loved. Love is written all over these verses, even though the word itself never appears. “My ears You have opened” – and only love could make Jesus do this for us. “In the scroll of the Book it is written of Me” – and only love could promise such a plan. God planned it long ago; and He delighted in this plan so much that He couldn’t keep it to Himself. He had to put it in a Book so we could read about it. “I delight to do Your will” – only love could make the suffering Jesus endured, His delight.

When we think where Christmas began – in the heaven of heavens, in the secret councils of the godhead – it should fill our heart with true worship. It should make us humbly ask forgiveness for every time we have doubted God’s love. It should make us acknowledge that we are unworthy, but that His love is even greater than our unworthiness.

David the Psalmist never saw baby Jesus lying in a manger in Bethlehem, but he did see where Christmas began. Can you see it also?

David Guzik is a teaching pastor at Calvary Chapel of Santa Barbara. David is popularly known amongst the Christian community for his online and print commentary on the Bible.