By Rae Lynn DeAngelis

It’s funny how certain memories stick out in your mind. I was three years old and remember climbing into my parent’s bed early in the morning after my brother and sister left for school. Mom invited me to nestle into the curve of her body so we could snuggle. The faint smell of dad’s aftershave on the pillow and the rhythmic sound of mom’s breathing sometimes lulled me back to sleep. The youngest of three children, I treasured these moments when I had Mom all to myself.

After we rested for a bit, I would often ask her to tell me, once again, about our new house. Mom grabbed the picture from her nightstand and began describing the exciting quest our family was about to take. Moving day was just a couple of weeks away. She pointed to the windows of our two-story, Colonial home and explained, “This will be yours and Kathi’s room, and this will be Steve’s.” My brother, the only boy, had a room all to himself. That was okay; I liked sharing a room with my big sister, although I’m not sure my sister shared the same sentiment.

Mom talked about every part of the house and described, in detail, each room. I loved getting a visual in my mind of the place where we would live out the next chapter of our lives. But no matter how hard I tried, my imagination was so limited. I could only build upon my narrow perception of information gathered throughout my three year’s life experience (let’s be honest; it wasn’t a lot to go on). Because of my limited understanding, I wasn’t able to fully appreciate what our new home had to offer until moving day, when I was finally able to see it in person.

You and I can read about heaven, and we can imagine heaven. We can even gather stories of those who claim to have been to heaven. But we will never fully appreciate our eternal home with Jesus until we enter the gates of paradise and see it for ourselves. First Corinthians 2:9 explains that our human mind cannot conceive what God has prepared for those of us who love Him. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait!

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3)

“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” (Revelation 21:2)

“It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.  It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates.” (Revelation 21:11-12)

“The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. (Revelation 21:16)

“The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.” (Revelation 21:19-21)

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 22:1-5)