My wife wrote a post on her blog yesterday about a conversation we had with our kids at breakfast. The kids were talking about living to be 100 years old, and Breena told them that she would be dead when they were 100. That kind of freaked them out, so she reassured them that we would all be together in heaven if we love Jesus. Then she turned to me and asked, "Is that right?"
One of the things we value in our family is telling our kids the truth. That's why we don't do Santa Claus in our house at Christmas. Sure, he's a fun story, but he's portrayed as though he's real, and he most certainly overshadows Jesus during the Christmas season. It's not that we're opposed to fiction or fun stories, it's that we're opposed to fiction portrayed as truth to the point that the real truth is suppressed beneath the fiction. So what does that have to do with going to heaven?
I believe that the truth about heaven gets obscured by the fiction. The popular image is that we become angels when we die, playing harps on clouds and looking out for our loved ones who are still alive on the earth. This is not the biblical image.
So when Breena asked me, "Is that right?", I said, "Well, actually Jesus is going to come back here and reign on the earth." Of course, my little ones don't know what the word reign means, so Breena had me explain it.
"That means Jesus is going to come back and be the king over all the earth. And do you know what else, we are all going to be kings and queens with him!"
I have never seen my kids eyes light up so bright in my life. They could not have been more excited about becoming kings and queens with Jesus. This led into a much longer conversation about how we live on earth, but it was that spark in their eyes and voices that hit me with this epiphany: The truth is life-giving. We tell our kids the truth, not simply because it's the right thing to do, but because it breathes life into their souls. The truth is always better than fiction.
Jesus is better than Santa Claus.
Reigning with Jesus is better than the popular, saccharin picture of heaven.
The truth is better than fiction. Trust your kids. Tell them the truth. They can understand more than you probably realize.