Christmas Past and Future

A Heavenly Family Celebration

Then the angel said to [John], “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” (Revelation 19:9)

The youngest of four children, I lived with my parents long after my older siblings left home for college, careers, and homes of their own. But they all returned for Christmas. Each year I looked forward to days of cooking holiday foods, wrapping presents, playing board games, and constructing a 1500-piece jigsaw puzzle.

Meals with twelve people gathered around the dining room table were much more exciting than the subdued meals I shared with my parents the rest of the year. We laughed about past misadventures, listened to my parents’ childhood stories, shared our dreams, and worked through our challenges.

But as much as I cherish those memories, they pale in comparison to the future family gatherings the apostle Peter encourages us to anticipate in 2 Peter 3:13—“But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness” (NLT).

One day we’ll gather around the table with our heavenly Father, our Savior Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and millions of spiritual siblings. Can you hear the laughter echoing off the walls of a gigantic dining hall? Can you feel the warmth of a bear hug from Jesus or the thrill of listening to his childhood stories about Nazareth? What will it be like when God the Father describes the creation of the universe, the exodus from Egypt, or the night of Jesus’s birth?

Whether our Christmas celebration this year is boisterous or quiet, we can look forward to the future God has prepared for us. One day we’ll dwell in “the city of pure gold” that doesn’t need “the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light” (Revelation 21:18, 23). There we’ll see—face to face—the God who loves us more than we can fathom. (22:4). We’ll live forever in that beautiful heavenly place, and we’ll enjoy countless family gatherings more joyful than any we have known.

What aspects of our future celebration are you most excited about?

DIG DEEPER

Read Titus 2:11–14 and 2 Peter 3:10–14. While we wait for the new heavens and new earth God has promised, what should we be doing?

Read the brief description of the “wedding of the Lamb” given in Revelation 19:7–9. What stands out to you about that occasion? What is John’s response in verse 10 and what does the angel say to him?

Read Matthew 26:26–29. What did Jesus say about the next time he’d participate in what we call the Lord’s Supper? To what occasion do you think he was referring?

Denise K. Loock

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