“But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” – Isaiah 9:1-2
Imagine yourself in a dark, unlit alley, full of twists, turns and bumps in the pavement. You can’t see yourself or anyone that is around you. Suddenly, a floodlight is switched on and the area is bright as day. At this point, you are able to see yourself and the others clearly and which path you should take to travel home. The light made all the difference.
Isaiah 9:1-2 speaks of the “great light” that shines on a people who were walking in darkness. The messianic prophecy in these verses (like so many others in the Old Testament) is fulfilled in the coming of Christ, more specifically in Matthew 4:13-16: “And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: ‘The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles – the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.’”
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior, let us reflect on this Christ child who came to shine light into our dark hearts. Without His presence in our lives, we wander in darkness, unable to see ourselves clearly and the sin that so pervades our hearts. Those that are in darkness cannot see anything in a spiritual sense. But, when the Holy Spirit shines the light of the gospel in our lives, we see ourselves correctly: as sinners in deep need of a Savior. When we put our trust in God through Christ, we are lovingly and (sometimes unwillingly) “conformed to the image of His Son,” (Romans 8:29).
Through this process of sanctification, God continues to shine His light on the dark parts of our hearts. This Christmas, may we allow HIS light to penetrate even the hidden areas of our hearts. We can completely trust our all-sufficient God, who sent His Son, the PERFECT light to defeat the darkness that overwhelms the world around us and fills even our own hearts. Praise Him for this wonderful gift!
Dear Heavenly Father, You have sent Jesus, the true light, into the world to conquer the darkness. Forgive me for loving darkness more than Jesus. Allow me to walk in His light daily so that I can see myself more clearly and love you more deeply. In His name, Amen.
~ Ellen Crefeld