WE HAVE LEARNED how the Old Testament presages the New. We know now that the Patriarchs were to be seen as “precursors” of the Messiah. Christ has indeed been referred to as “a second Adam” or “a second Moses”.
The prophets, while dealing with the concerns of their time, were always also looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, and none more so than Isaiah whose foretelling of Christ’s birth is the “call to arms” in the First Reading for Midnight Mass.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
on those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness a light has shone.
The “people who walked in darkness” are sometimes understood to be the shepherds who were given the privilege of being the very first to witness the coming of the Redeemer though I find this interpretation very narrow; all the world was walking “in darkness” until the day of their deliverance. Isaiah continues:
For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.
And reaches a rousing climax with
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Stirring stuff! And so it should be!
Our Redeemer has been born. Our salvation is at hand. Rejoice!