Heaven in a box

Posted on December 10, 2013 · Posted in Godward Orientation, Worldview

Do you think about giving the gift of heaven to  your children? It is impossible, of course, to wrap up even a small piece of heaven in a Christmas gift―but is it possible that our gifts do the opposite? That our gifts say that this life is all that really matters? The gift of heaven is not tangible. We can’t touch it or shake or look at it. But it is, nevertheless a gift that we cannot fail to give.

Heaven is a big deal. It is the ultimate reason we train our children not to indulge in the tempting pleasures of a world headed for destruction. Something better waits for them than XBox, Nike, Fisher-Price and Blue-Ray. Heaven is something that they cannot see, taste, touch, smell or hear. But it is more real than anything physical that they can possess in this life. And it is something you can tell them about. God placed us here on this planet to enjoy him and his splendid creation (Psalm 8, 19, etc.). But without the reality of heaven this life is like a cruel joke – promising everything and then delivering humiliating, bitter fruit in return. Without heaven, this world promises only an emotional roller coaster ride to depression and shattered dreams. Without heaven, Christ’s death is meaningless and empty. Without heaven, we Christians are nothing more than objects of pity.

Without heaven, none of this Christian stuff makes any sense. Paul says it is all an exercise is utter futility. If that is true, then without heaven this Christian stuff will also make no sense to your children. Heaven is better than winning a sports championship, better than a wide screen LCD TV, better than a new car, better than a strong economy, better than the perfect meal, better than sex, better than a stunning sunrise, better than the best sermon, better than the most perfect new home you can think of. Heaven is better than the most awesomely decorated Christmas tree surrounded by presents. Heaven is where God lives in eternity. Heaven is where the River of Life flows freely. While on earth, living for God’s honor makes life special. But something better awaits.

Do you hide the wonder of heaven from your children, from yourselves? The joy and hope of heaven is what makes this life worth living. The praise of man, the momentary fleeting joy of possessions, and the elusive pride of accomplishments offer nothing that is lasting or, ultimately, comforting. God has given many good things to enjoy ( I Tim. 4:4), but without heaven it is all truly vanity and emptiness.

This Christmas, along with all of the things that you will give your children, give them the gift you can’t wrap and put a bow on. Give them a view of heaven. Tell them what is behind all of what you are doing as a Christian parent. Let them know that heaven is worth living for.

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. I Corinthians 15:19

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Rev. 22:1&2


Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.