The other day, I took my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter to the library to read and play. Her squeals of excitement at the play area and rows of colorful children’s books, her bouncy “running,” and her clapping taught me something. Her self-forgetful, raw joy at colors, toys, books, and other children is a preview of the joy I will experience in Heaven (the New Earth).
After watching Pan’s Labyrinth and obsessively researching various analyses of the movie, I read somewhere that we should view children as “ambassadors of a higher culture,” learning from them even as we teach them (like the adults in Ofelia’s world could have learned from her … but that’s probably another post for another day). The point is, children aren’t empty shelves for us to store information. They are delightful little books from which we can learn so much if we’re willing to look.
As Christians, we have true hope: the certainty of a resurrected body, a resurrected Earth, and eternal life with the resurrected Jesus (Romans 8:18-30; 1 Corinthians 15:49-56; Revelation 21:22; 22:1-5) Our hope won’t shame or disappoint us in the end because it is a done deal for us in Christ—purchased by His blood, promised by the God who cannot lie (Romans 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:20). So what do children have to do with our great hope? Children teach us about Heaven, and we get to teach children about the God of Heaven…
In children we see
the raw joy of life.
The simple things
are seen as they are: wonders
worthy of beckoning all
to “Look! Look!”
A butterfly! Water! A spoon!
Mud! A nose! The color blue!
beckoning all to
participate in all the good
and, oh, they show us
there is so much good:
a book, a ball, a game
sunshine, snow, rain.
They see things the way
we ultimately will in Heaven, the New Earth:
inexplicably beautiful, bursting with worth.
They play with unbridled delight—
jumping, screaming, laughing, singing.
They don’t care if their outfit matches
nor are they afraid of ridicule.
Their joy is so attractive,
so instructive for us.
They truly are a blessing,
reteaching us to discover
the wonder of people, places, and things.
What a wonderful privilege we have, then,
to give thanks for them
tell them where these wonders come from,
where joy will never end.