Read Revelation 21
Focus on verse 3-4
The name Emanuel means “God with us”. It is something we often speak and sing of as we celebrate Christmas each year. This is appropriate since Christmas is the time at which the church celebrates the coming of Jesus Christ, God embodied in the flesh of a man who would lay down His own life as a ransom for all humanity that we might have access once again to God through Him.
In today’s reading John writes of a time when this present earth will pass away, and God will establish a new heaven and a new earth in which we will dwell with Him forever.
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. 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.” (v. 3-4)
In the latter half of this chapter John uses words to attempt to describe this place to us, but somehow I suspect it is a little like taking a photograph of a sunset – the two dimensional photo is a poor representation of what was actually experienced by the one taking the picture. John could use every descriptive word in his vocabulary and it would likely fall short of accurately describing what he saw. For now we experience it as a shadow, a two-dimensional distorted vision of what is to come. Someday, we will see God up close and personal. What an exciting, terrifying, incredible, indescribable day that will be.