Just as we can look back fondly on Christmases past, we can delightfully ponder the joy that awaits us beyond this earthly life.
As snowflakes fall on a mid-December evening, I carefully wrap gifts in festive paper and ribbon before tucking them under the Christmas tree, while a holiday movie plays on the television.
“What’s your favorite Christmas memory?” a character asks her best friend. The question isn’t directed at me, but immediately a stream of Christmas memories of my childhood and beyond floods my mind.
Buttoning up my new church coat from my godmother. Decorating the tree as carols hum softly from the radio. The glow of the twinkle lights shining on the nativity scene. The smiles of my beloved grandparents and their warm hands holding mine. Singing “O Come, All Ye Faithful” with my classmates as we march into church for the Christmas Eve service. Baking cutout cookies. A feast of ham and cranberry sauce with those we love. Lighting the Advent candles. Holding my children close as we listen to Luke chapter 2 being read by the pastor.
Each of us has Christmastime memories that we hold dear. After all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. How can it be topped?
A future life in heaven
When the holidays are over, the twinkle lights are down, and the house is quiet yet again, the message of Christmas will carry on because there is more celebrating to come. Just as we can look back fondly on Christmases past, we can delightfully ponder the joy that awaits us beyond this earthly life. An eternal celebration of praise and honor with the Father who created us, the Son who lived and died for us, and the Holy Spirit who worked faith in us. Perfect joy awaits!
The Christmas cheer here on earth is a hint, a glimmer, of the delight we will experience in the presence of our loving and forgiving God. As wonderful as the holiday can be, it simply doesn’t hold a candle to heaven’s perfect offerings. Even our most treasured Christmas memories fade in a world tainted by sin, but heaven will endure forever. After a lifetime of hearing the good news of Jesus, we will at last be with our Savior! The undeserving gift of eternal life with our Immanuel will be unwrapped.
The beautiful words of Paul Gerhardt come to mind: “O Jesus Christ, your manger is my paradise at which I am reclining. For there, O Lord, we find the Word made flesh for us your grace is brightly shining. The world may hold her wealth and gold; but you, my heart, keep Christ as your true treasure. To him hold fast until at last a crown is yours and honor in full measure” (Christian Worship 342:1,5).*
Our minds cannot grasp how incredible it will be to be at perfect peace with God and reunited with loved ones. No tears, sorrow, sin, or pain will share the stage with our joy. As festive as our homes can look at Christmas, the mansions of heaven will be far more spectacular than we can fathom.
This Christmas as you gather with family and friends to make memories and to worship the Savior, hold fast to the sure hope that one day, because of him, we will be together with all the saints triumphant in our heavenly home. May the peace of Christ fill your heart and carry you on until you reach heaven’s door.
Glory to the newborn King!
*Text tr. © 1941 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Featured image is from Trinity, Crete, Ill.
Author: Rachel Olson
Volume 110, Number 12
Issue: December 2023