The Christmas season isn’t always jolly and merry. In fact, it can be filled with heartache, sorrow, tears, and pain. I understand this intimately. Ever since June 30, 2021, my family’s holidays have been marked by tears and sadness. On that day, our 20-year-old daughter died in a tragic car accident while we traveled home from vacation together. Within seconds, our firstborn child was taken from us.
Death is our enemy. I hate death—I am tired of tears. And yet, if that June day is my greatest day of sorrow, then Revelation 21 is my greatest source of hope and comfort. It can be yours as well.
In these words, we find the assurance of the eternal victory that Jesus has secured for his people. The loving Shepherd will wipe away our tears and eradicate sin, death, and the devil forevermore. That is our future reward and the destiny of all those who are people of faith.
The scope of the gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t limited to the salvation of our souls. It includes the restoration and redemption of all that was lost at the fall of man in Genesis 3. This restoration will involve a new heaven, a new Jerusalem, and perfected bodies that are resurrected to inhabit a glorious new earth. We eagerly await a transformation of the entire universe.
The vision of what is to come, captured in Revelation 21, will be new in quality and superior in character to what we have now. Just as the text predicts this present earth’s passing away, it immediately speaks of the ushering in of a new and magnificent beginning. This new earth is the place where Christ’s kingdom will be revealed in its fullness, where God himself will reign as the sole King over it all, dwelling in peace and power with his people.
This is the essence of salvation—an intimate, personal relationship with God himself, unending and forevermore. There will be no need for opposing political parties and denominational factions, as we will all be drawn together to worship him, serve him, rule with him, and steward with him. There will be no more death. There will be purposeful work to accomplish, family and friends to enjoy without fear of separation, and an eternity of learning and discovering. It will be a continuous fulfillment of our deepest desire for union with God and each other.
The hope of that great day helps me persevere today, even when the tragedy within our family and the sadness of the holidays feel overwhelming. Our Lord arrived on that first Christmas in great humility, but he will return again in absolute victory. The mighty vision given to the apostle John in the Book of Revelation closes with the Lord saying, “Yes, I am coming soon.” To which John responds, along with every sorrowing heart, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
Craig Smith is the Lead Pastor of The Vail Church.
This article is part of The Eternal King Arrives, a 4-week devotional to help individuals, small groups, and families journey through the 2023 Advent season . Learn more about this special issue that can be used Advent, or any time of year at http://orderct.com/advent.
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