“Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise’” (Luke 23:43).
My kids and I often talk about heaven. It started with my girls when they were toddlers. When little girls in princess costumes hear that there are streets of gold and lots of gems, well, heaven sounds pretty great. As they got a little older, their idea of perfection involved wondering if they could eat all kinds of candy and not get sick. Other times they’d have a rough day at school and just wanted to be in heaven. (We get that, right? Imperfect relationships on earth are hard!) My son is fascinated by thinking about sports in heaven. My daughter loves to declare which people she hopes will be in the rooms next to her. Adults do this too. The first thing people say after Grandpa dies is that he gets to see Grandma now.
All of our conjuring glosses over the best part. In heaven we will be physically reunited with Jesus—the transfigured Jesus who Peter, James, and John got to see on earth while he talked with Moses and Elijah. He is the Lord of the universe, sitting at the right hand of God and interceding for us.
So we keep talking to the kids about heaven, but our conversations will start with celebrating that we get to be with Jesus, God’s Son. Because, ultimately, no matter what the other side benefits are, the best part of heaven is that we’ll be with Jesus in paradise.