Christmas Light, Part 1: The Dawn
9 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—
2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
- This prophecy foretells the coming of Christ by predicting certain things that will be true about that time:
- There will be no more gloom
- The people of God (Galilee) will be honored
- Those walking in darkness will not only see, but see a great light
- A new era will arrive, in the form of light dawning
- To grasp the utter importance of this text, we have to go back. All the way back to when light was created
- To grasp the importance of this text, we have to go back to when light was created.
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
- The first thing we ever read God saying, the first of His stated creative acts – Let there be light.
- We learn from the very beginning that light will be something important and special.
- Everything in creation stems from that original creation of light.
1. LIGHT IS GOOD
Light is the first of the Creator’s works, showing the work of the divine in a world that is chaos without it.
- Light symbolizes life – “You have rescued me from death. You have kept my feet from stumbling so that I could walk in your presence, in the light of life” (Ps 56:13)
- Light symbolizes truth – “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path” (Ps 119:105)
2. GOD IS LIGHT
“God is light, and there isn’t any darkness in him.” 1 John 1:5
“The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?” Psalm 27:1
- Light to the world – “You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14
- Light yet to come – “There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” Revelations 22:5
12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people living in darkness
have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”
17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
- Any good Jew would be able to immediately read Matthew 4 and see how points us back to the prophecy in Isaiah
- There is a clear parallel here between the initial story of creation of Genesis 1 (“Let there be light”) and the arrival of Jesus (“a light has dawned”)
- Jesus’ affirms that God’s kingdom has come near. It is not just that “a light has dawned” but rather “our light has dawned”
He didn’t just come to be THE Light, He came to be YOUR Light.
“The splendors of creation and the agonies of redemption combine in Christmas, this center where God in Christ invades existence with redeeming light and decisively defeats evil.”
― Eugene Peterson