THURSDAY, December 13
Born Again Beach
They call it “the born again beach.” From a British newspaper comes the story of an Irish beach front that disappeared more than 30 years ago but has returned. How is this possible? The sand at Dooagh Beach, was washed away by storms in 1984, leaving only rocks and rock pools. But after an unusual tide around Easter of 2017, hundreds of tons of sand were deposited around the area where the beach once stood, recreating the old 300-metre stretch of golden sand. Local people are using the word “miraculous” to describe the beach’s renewal. An official for the area’s tourism board explained why pilgrims are flocking to the site: We live in a dark world these days so I think that is why there has been so much interest in Dooagh beach since the story broke. For something like our beach to come back gives people hope.” I suppose the actual restoration and rebirth of something as tangible as a land mass, in this case an entire beach, could most certainly create within one’s heart encouragement and hope, especially when the only conclusion rests with God’s intervention.
To a greater story of restoration: there was an ancient piece of land that had been devastatingly lost, not to a natural tide, but to a swelling tide of irreligious and immoral living among God’s people. But there was indeed a resurge of hope as God promised His people that a light would once again shine in this land that had been made spiritual dark. Like the people of Dooagh who gained hope from the return of a beach front, from within this historical excerpt from the Scriptures comes a real story of hope to a land once lost.
In Isaiah 9:1-2, we read, “But there will be no more gloom for her (Israel) who was in anguish; in the past, He humbled the land of Zebulun and Naphtali, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. – the people walking in darkness have seen a great light.”
A bit of a background from the above passage: In striking contrast with the previous message of devastation (in Isaiah 8), this message becomes one of hope for the entire land. (Zebulun and Naphtali, tribal names, were synonymous with the upper and lower Galilee, geographical names). Herein lies the history that foreshadows hope for the restoration of this dark world. Zebulun and Naphtali, the country of Galilee all around the sea of Genesareth, were the principle places that suffered under the Assyrian King, Tiglath-pileser (Old Testament history), and the first places to enjoy the blessings of Christ’s Jesus preaching the gospel (New Testament history). So, the prophecy that a light would once again return to the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali points to the coming of Christ Jesus.
Christmas marks the significance of God bringing restoration to a land that was in utter darkness; Christmas also marks the significance of God bringing light into our darkness. Jesus is our hope. He is our restoration. Take this moment to thank God for the coming of His Son who has brought light to darkness, and restoration to brokenness. Live astonished at His transforming power.
Read: Isaiah 9:1-2; Matthew 4:12-25