The city was shining with the glory of God. It was shining bright like a very expensive jewel, like a jasper. It was clear as crystal.
The wall was made of jasper. The city was made of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundation stones of the city walls had every kind of expensive jewels in them. The first foundation stone was jasper, the second was sapphire, the third was chalcedony, the fourth was emerald, the fifth was onyx, the sixth was carnelian, the seventh was yellow quartz, the eighth was beryl, the ninth was topaz, the tenth was chrysoprase, the eleventh was jacinth, and the twelfth was amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls. Each gate was made from one pearl. The street of the city was made of pure gold, as clear as glass.
The city did not need the sun or the moon to shine on it. The glory of God gave the city light. The Lamb was the city’s lamp. The peoples of the world will walk by the light given by the Lamb. The rulers of the earth will bring their glory into the city. The city’s gates will never close on any day, because there is no night there.
The greatness and the honor of the nations will be brought into the city. Nothing unclean will ever enter the city. No one who does shameful things or tells lies will ever enter the city. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life will enter the city.
Christmastime can be exciting and uplifting. Driving through neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights. Watching Hallmark movies set in a sweet snowy town – anticipating the ending, even though we all know what it will be. The joy of attending Christmas Eve services with our family members who have come home from far away. Finding the best appetizer or brunch recipes to make for Christmas. Listening to Christmas songs every single day. Baking and/or eating Christmas cookies!!!!
Christmas is a time that lifts our spirits and takes us away from the realities of life. We encounter joy, kindness, generosity, feel good stories, and lots of smiles.
As I was listening to the local radio station playing Christmas music the other day, I heard the host say that variety music will return the day after Christmas. When I heard that, my heart sank. I do not want this time to end. I do not want to go back to the realities of the world where things seem dark and angry. I want to stay in this Hallmark world forever.
As believers in Christ, however, we have the promise of a place far better than a Hallmark world. In Revelation the Apostle John describes this place, and oh what a place it is!
When I first tried to understand Revelation and what Heaven would look like, someone said to me, imagine or dream of Heaven. With the help of the Apostle John, I envisioned a city made of jewels as the best Christmas light display I’ve ever seen. Walking with my hot cocoa under the twinkling lights that canopy the road beneath. Marveling at the sparkling colors shining off everything they touch, especially when they shine on the water.
I envisioned light without darkness. No more rainy days and no more driving to and from work in the dark during Standard Savings Time. No more seasonal affective disorder. I could only see beautiful sunshine as on that first warm spring day. Laying in the grass looking at the sky, visualizing what the puffy clouds represent. Sipping on a good root beer float on a warm summer day.
There will be no more rushing to the post office to mail those Christmas cards on time. Heaven’s gates will always be open!
Lastly, I imagined my new home as a place that never experiences illness, loss, crime, hate, or the news.
I suppose Heaven will be like what we encounter at this time of year: joy, kindness, generosity, good stories and smiles – but most of all, love.
As this Christmas season comes to a close, instead of feeling sad or let down, envision what Heaven will look like. Then spend the next 365 days dreaming of the home He has prepared for you.