Isaiah 9: 2 (NIV) The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
Darkness and Light is very much a part of the Christmas story! Holding to the idea of God starting with darkness and then bring light plays very much into the First Coming of Jesus.
This image in Isaiah 9: 2 where it is foretold that Galilee would see a great light. Verse 6 of chapter 9 is also a much-used Christmas verse. In chapter 8 we see what was happening in Isaiah’s life as well as Israel at the time of this word. Isaiah and his children are physical signs to a nation that was not following God, and Assyria is predicted to come and sweep the land clean. Galilee was part of the Northern Kingdom that left the worship of God for idols. Kings and Chronicles go into detail of their unfaithfulness and for Galilee to be associated with Gentiles or the nations hints how far they had fallen. 9: 2 tells us that the people were in darkness (spiritual darkness) and that they would see a great light. This is the region where Jesus did much of His earthly ministry, they saw the Light! Isaiah 8: 19 – 22 paints the picture of mediums and spiritualists with the people being distressed, hungry, and fearful.
Dark and light set the stage for the angels’ announcement to the shepherds in Luke 2: 8 – 12. It was night all around the shepherds when the Glory (light) replaced the darkness and they heard that the Light of the World had come.
Joseph was in darkness (night, asleep) when the angel told him to accept the Light and marry Mary. Joseph had several dreams that would lead him into the light he needed: to go to Egypt, to return, and to go to Galilee.
The Wise Men also show our dark to light theme in Matthew 2: 2; 9 -10. They were the living definition of the Gentiles in Isaiah 8, they worshipped the stars and sought guidance from the created not the Creator! So, in their night they saw a light (star – “every star a burning signal fire of grace” from the song 100 Billion X by Hillsong) that would lead them to worship the King! The Father also gave them night visions to protect the Light and sent them home a different route.
After many Nativity movies and planetarium shows on the Christmas star, I will admit this thought is not mine or original. I have heard about comets and stars in the wrong constellations, then there was the animated movie that the door to heaven was left open as explanations for the star. We know that the glory showed in the night sky over Bethlehem. The Magi eluded they saw the star/light when the king was born. It reappeared after leaving Jerusalem and then stationed itself over where Jesus was. (I think the Holy Family went back to Nazareth before going to Egypt.) The Magi gave Herod a two-year period since they observed the star. I find it easier to believe that the star/light was angels on “star-duty” than a comet or out of place star.
To tell the story of Christmas there has to be darkness, and Light came in to show the way.
See the post Follow the Light.
FURTHER THOUGHT – Compare the Christmas story to Genesis 1 and the “First Day”.