I was working in the mall during Christmas time at age seventeen. Part of my job involved obtaining various products in the warehouse for store clerks. The size of this room was astounding. Nearly a football field in length, not only was the room cavernous; it was filled wall-to-wall with boxes.
On one occasion, I found myself at the rear of the warehouse opposite the door when someone turned off the lights. There I was, with 9000 boxes between me and the light switch. Did I mention that there were no windows in the warehouse? Indeed, 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, if only there was such an aisle. Boxes were haphazardly piled everywhere.
I remember vividly how I felt during the forty minutes of winding my way around the room: isolation, fear, dread. It was a defining moment.
Have you ever felt that way? Lonely, fearful, hopeless?
After the thirty-fourth minute, I crawled around a pile of boxes, and there, in the distance, I saw a dim sign which said, “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 “exit.” It is the word that we render “exodus.” “Exodus” is the way God saves lost people. It is divine light shining into 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 we. 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 forty minutes to meander though 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.