As a teenager working in the mall during Christmas, I was the guy who ran products from the warehouse to the store clerks. This cavernous stockroom was 6,000 square feet and filled wall-to-wall with boxes.
On one occasion, I found myself in the back of the windowless warehouse opposite the door when someone turned off the lights. There I was, alone in the dark with 15,000 boxes between the light switch and me. I couldn’t see an inch before my face. I know what you’re thinking: just find an aisle and walk toward the door! Yeah, maybe if there weren’t boxes haphazardly piled everywhere.
I remember what I felt during those thirty minutes of meandering around the room: isolation, fear, and dread. It was the kind of defining moment that is all too common in the human experience.
After the twenty-ninth minute, I crawled around a set of boxes, and there, in the distance, I saw a dim sign labeled, “Exit.” I knew that below the sign was a door, and beside the door was a light switch. At once, a new sensation emerged: hope.
In the New Testament is a Greek word translated as “exit.” It is the word that we render “exodus.” “Exodus” is the way God saves lost people. It is divine light shining into the darkness. Consider, for example, the words of Psalm 27, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?”
What does this little story have to do with Advent? Everything. Jesus stepped into history and said, “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
You may not realize it, but you and I desperately need the light of life. Because of sin, we stand condemned before God, stuck in the worst conceivable form of darkness. This is where humanity lives apart from Christ.
The good news, however, is that Jesus died for lost people such as us. Christ hung between heaven and earth on the cross to suffer in our place, taking upon himself our punishment. Then, to demonstrate that his sacrifice was acceptable, God raised Jesus from the dead. And now our Savior lives and is calling all of us to follow him in faithful obedience.
As I said, it took me thirty minutes to meander through the warehouse of boxes before finally reaching the door. I made it to the exit; I made it to the light.
Some of you are reading this and thinking: I know darkness.
Jesus Christ—died, risen, and reigning with the Father—is the good news. Now with this message, you are confronted with the bright hope of Christmas. Don’t remain in the darkness of sin; entrust yourself to the light—to the person of Jesus Christ.