The people living in darknessThe author of the gospel of Matthew uses this passage from Isaiah to announce the beginning of Jesus ministry in Galilee, but he just as easily could have used it to announce his birth. The 'nation' of Israel was in a dark time, living under Roman rule. The voices of the prophets had ceased hundreds of years earlier. It seemed like God had abandoned them. And then a light shown out into the darkness. God himself, in the form of a newborn infant, came to bring light into the world.
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawnedIsaiah 9:2, Matthew 4:16
What was that light? The light was Jesus, and it was life for all who would believe. That light was announced to the shepherds by angels and to the Magi by a star. John the Baptist proclaimed the coming of the light as he prepared Israel for their coming Messiah. Jesus himself proclaimed the Kingdom of God and invited all who would to enter it. His apostles proclaimed the gospel of Jesus, the light of the world, to all the Roman world, and via their writings, to us today.
This Christmas, celebrate the great light that shines out from the manger. Like the shepherds and Magi, come and worship him. And then, like the shepherds, tell everyone you meet about what you have experienced of the light. Honor Him today as Lord and God! Let the light of Christ shine out into the darkness that is enveloping our world.