By: Dave Kother
As parents, many of us look forward to Christmas, to see our children’s faces and their reactions on Christmas morning. But some parents face Christmas with empty arms, rooms, and houses; they walk through these days with sorrow, pain, and tears. As we read the Christmas story portrayed throughout the gospels, we marvel at all that transpired with the coming of Jesus to earth as a baby in a manger. We ponder the lives of the characters that God used and are amazed at the prophetic details that came into perfect fulfillment. But the Christmas story also points to a future, second, final Advent.
John writes little or no details about the first Advent in his gospel, but he tells us in the book of Revelation of a place yet in the future and gives us enough details to know that this place will be perfect in every way.
1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
(Revelation 21:1-7, English Standard Version)
This is a place of extreme light and incredible beauty. It is a place where the prophecies of centuries before that were partially fulfilled will then be wholly fulfilled. It is a place where the promises that God has made centuries, eons, millennia ago will be finally kept for all of eternity. It is a place of ‘Eternal Emmanuel,’ where God is bringing His dwelling place with man, where God will dwell with them, and finally and forever, God Himself will be with us, and we will be with God!
The new heaven and new earth will not only be a place of indescribable beauty; there will be no more crying or anything that causes sadness or pain. It would be enough if heaven was a place of no more tears, but John says that God goes further; He reaches out and touches us in the way that only He can (like Jesus did with the leper), and He will wipe all our tears away as He ushers us into His new eternal dwelling!
Many times, we cry as the Israelites of old did, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” We long for this place where we will be with God, and God will be with us, this place of no more crying or pain or tears. The Lord God of Heaven sees, knows, and cares about our tears and sorrows. One day, He will wipe them all away in the place where all things are new.
Jesus is coming again to bring us to this place that He is preparing for us, not as an infant tender and mild in Bethlehem, but as a glorious, conquering king with all the glory and power He possesses.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18:
16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, English Standard Version)
As Paul did, we look and listen for the time yet in the future, which could be today!
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
(Titus 2:13, King James Version)
Merry Christmas! Come, Lord Jesus; come, Emmanuel!
About the Author: Dave Kother, or ‘DK’ as he’s known to Millington’s AWANA kids, has worked for the City of Linden as a police detective for over 28 years. He and his wife Denise live in Scotch Plains and are blessed with four children.