There will be no more gloom for those who were in distress… In the future he will honor Galilee of the nations.
Every country seems to have a state, province, or town that has a reputation for being less than upscale. Galilee, in the northern part of Palestine, was a place like that. When Jesus began his ministry, people said things like “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (John 1:46).
It is good that God does not follow some magazine’s list of “10 Best Places to Live.” Through Isaiah, God promises that light will come from the “backwoods” region of Galilee. About 700 years later that light did come when Jesus lived in Galilee and began his ministry near Capernaum. As Matthew 4:12-17 describes the start of Jesus’ ministry, it also quotes Isaiah, saying, “On those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
That was a long time to wait, and even then the light was “dawning”—just beginning. Anyone living there could have missed the light if they were expecting something flashier or from a more prominent place, like Jerusalem.
When Christmas comes next week, we could also stumble at the sputtering of a light in a stable, expecting something more flashy or sophisticated. Jesus’ very humanness remains part of his humility and hiddenness. Surprisingly, Galilee, where different nations meet, is part of his glory.
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for showing me that it takes time to keep a promise, and time to know it was kept. Help me to celebrate the dawning of the light in faith and hope, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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