The Old Testament and gospel readings for Epiphany function as point and counterpoint. Isaiah offers a word of great comfort to those who have been so long in darkness. Impoverished as the hearers have been, honor and fortune are on their way. It's a message of rejoicing: the light that has dawned will make all who see it radiant.
Christmas | First Sunday after Christmas (Year A)
Isaiah 63:7-9; Psalm 148; Hebrews 2:10-18; Matthew 2:13-23
There's an interesting variation between the New International and New Revised Standard versions of Isaiah 63:9. The NIV expresses quite beautifully that "the angel of his presence saved them," while the NRSV contends that "it was no messenger or angel but his presence that saved them." Both convey Isaiah's revelation that God does not plan to redeem creation by force, by tinkering with free will, or from afar. God redeems creation by becoming one of us, by drawing near to us and being with us.