“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 9:2)
The people of Israel were living in spiritual darkness. They had been unfaithful to the Lord, and their land was filled with idols — despite so many warnings. They had chosen not to “walk in the light of the Lord” (see Isaiah 2:5).
God did not just accept that. He is very patient and slow to anger, but does not clear the guilty. The prophet Isaiah had to announce the Lord’s judgment on Israel and other nations. “And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness” (Isaiah 8:22).
The people of Israel had earned this judgment. Every bit of it. They reaped what they had sown through their sinful behavior, and they had not paid attention to God’s warnings.
And yet, God did not leave them alone in their darkness. Isaiah’s prophecies do not end with the verse about the thick darkness. He suddenly starts writing about “a great light” that shines on those people who walk in darkness. This unexpected light comes from “a child” that is called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). This child is Jesus Christ, who indeed is “the light of the world” that shines in the darkness. This is the message of Christmas: God does not leave people in their darkness, but offers them the light of life.
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