Isaiah 9:1 But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. (NASB)
Some historians theorize that when Luke interviewed people to write his gospel, that Mary was his source for much of the information for the first two chapters. If so, then the information about Anna came from her.
As soon as Anna saw and testified to the Christ child as the hope of Judea, Mary might have acted surprised. After all, Judea wasn’t her home. Nazareth was.
Can you imagine Anna’s reaction when learned that Mary and Joseph came from Galilee? Nazareth was in the territory that had belonged to Naphtali in the pre-captivity days. It had also been Asher’s neighbor and the first tribe to be lost to an enemy. Perhaps she remembered these things when Mary spoke of home.
But Naphtali was sacrificed to Assyria many years before the rest of the Northern kingdom fell. It was scorned and treated with contempt as something to throw away. It was the bone to keep the dog busy while the kings figured out how to avoid the threat. As the tribute before, it did nothing more than increase the appetite. But because the kings discarded it, the worthless opinion of the area began to grow.
“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Nathanael had asked before becoming a disciple (John 2:46). That was a prevalent opinion of the day. It wasn’t part of Judea proper and you had to pass the scorned Samaria to get there. It was out in the boonies. Only the poor, the nobodies, and the lesser tradespeople lived there.
But God intended the lost, gloomy and distressed land to see its beauty again. He would give it His honor by raising His son on its soils.
A Sixty-Day Countdown to Christmas