vv. 22:1-2 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 through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
The Bible begins and ends in a garden. The Bible begins and ends in Paradise. The Bible begins and ends on earth. These are obvious truths if you read the first three chapters of Genesis and the last three chapters of Revelation. Yet we miss the point all the time. We insist on speaking of "heaven." Yet the Bible ends speaking of a renewed earth in eternity, not some ethereal heaven. The eternal purpose of God is not to destroy the creation. It is to fulfill it. The tree of life stands at the center of the garden at the beginning and at the end. And it is for healing. The great wound caused by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the original garden is healed. That tree is no longer at the center of the garden, only the tree of life is.
The Incarnation in which we believe, God becoming flesh--truly human and truly divine, the ultimate wedding of heaven and earth in a human being, is a great proclamation of this truth--God loves the creation, and not as something to observe, but to participate in. Revelation 21:3: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "See, the home of God is among mortals, he will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them."
That's what we heard the angel tell Joseph last Sunday: this child will be "Emmanuel," which means "God with us." Not God cheering us on from the sidelines, but God with us in the game.
Are you ready to celebrate this amazing news?