Read: Romans 8:18-25; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58; Revelation 21:1-7
Last Sunday's sermon made me laugh. We had a guest speaker, and his lead-in for his message involved the different ways people view and deal with their Christmas presents. Some size gifts up by the appearance. Some shake the packages which could result in breakage. Personally, I don't even touch the presents. I never want the surprise to be spoiled. That was what made me smile. The speaker told about his sister who actually unwrapped her packages to see what was inside. Then she would wrap them up again. Her wrapping skills were not good, and that's how her peeking at presents apparently was discovered. I can't fathom knowing what a gift is ahead of time; so, if anyone who read this happens to know anything concerning a Christmas present, I might receive, keep it "under wraps.
How differently I view the gifts that God has laid up in store for us, 1 Peter 1:3-5. I want to unwrap them now. The good thing is that when we read about what God has promised us, Revelation 21-22 for example, we get a peek into the wonderful things God has in mind. The Lord has pulled back the paper just enough to allow us to become excited about the preparations He has made for us, John 14:1-3. He wants us to peek into what He has revealed so we will be encouraged and so that we don't become weary as we serve Him, 1 Corinthians 15:58. Although we can't fill in all the blanks concerning what He has prepared, the Lord has painted enough of a picture to fill us with joy and anticipation, Revelation 21:1-7. Let's take a peek at this short passage:
1. God will make everything new, Revelation 21:1-2.
We love that even now, don't we? My grandpa used to love a new car. He kept it pristine as long as possible, both on the inside and on the outside. Those who like to journal revel at the sight of fresh new pages to fill with new happenings. Oh, the joy of unspoiled freshly fallen new snow. Think of it. Whatever God's new entails, what joy it surely will bring as He unfolds it throughout eternity.
2. God will live with us, Revelation 21:3.
Isn't it a precious thing to have a loved one who is always close at hand? We share so much with a person like that. We grow and change together. No wonder, when we hear the song, Mary Did You Know, we love the line: When you kissed your little baby, You kissed the face of God! That is the reminder that Immanuel had come as was promised, Matthew 1:23. While Jesus lived here, John 14:6, God lived among us. He was touched, and He touched those around Him, 1 John 1:1; Matthew 8:14-15. No wonder it is exciting to peek into the truth that we will be living with God forever. Will it be like when Adam and Eve walked with Him in the Garden, before sin spoiled their sweet intimacy, Genesis 3:8? We know this for certain, His home will be with us, and we will be His people, Revelation 21:3. Surely what we will enjoy will not be less wondrous than what Adam and Eve experienced, and it will never come to an end.
3. God Himself will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
Christmas is no different than any other day in that there are many who ache and mourn. Even though there is joy because of the Promised One Who came, sadness doesn't take a break because it is Christmas time. Could there be a sweeter thought than the Creator/Redeemer wiping away our tears, Revelation 21:4? Not simply for a moment. Not for a day. Not even for a year. For eternity. If you are like me, you can't even imagine a time without pain, either personal sadness or the sorrows that others endure. How good it is to peek into that promise and know that the whole new creation will also be free of its groaning, Romans 8:18-25.
4. God will satisfy every longing, Revelation 21:6.
He promises to provide for anyone of us who is thirsty from the Water of Life. I don't know all that this promise means, but I understand thirst. When the temperature is 100 outside, and I have just come indoors from working in the garden, the first thing I want is water. Refreshment and renewal. Whatever the details of this promise, can you imagine the joy that God will give us when He refreshes and renews us through an on-going relationship with Him?
5. God will give these blessings to us because we are victorious through Jesus, 1 Corinthians 15:57; Romans 8:37; Revelation 21:7. Often as we live in the every-day, we don't feel particularly victorious. How wonderful to remember that God's promises are not dependent upon our feelings.
6. All these truths that we can peek into are certain because they are guaranteed by the One Who is trustworthy, Revelation 21:5.
Christmas time is a good time to remember that the Lord can be trusted to do what He has said. Who else could predict His place of birth more than 700 years prior to its occurrence, Micah 5:2? That is merely one of dozens of prophesies given to us in the scriptures. Truths to peek into to remind us that the One Who has already kept so many promises will also be faithful to do what we have looked into today.
Lord, Thank You for the gifts You allow us to peek into now and for all the gifts that we can't even imagine that are yet to come.