“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:1-3
The population of Tucumcari increases dramatically every year during the first weekend of August when multitudes of people return for an annual event. Begun in 1971, Rattler Reunion offers a venue for past graduates, their spouses, friends, teachers and others to gather for a common reason. They come to renew old friendships and reminisce about their high school days, a time when the world seemed much simpler.
Organizers of the event chose the high school class commemorating 30 years from graduation to host the event each year. The host class starts preparing for the event a year before so everything is ready in time. The hard work and much time spent in preparing for the weekend is rewarded with a successful reunion each year. When the reunion is over, the process starts once again with another group of former students. In this way, the reunion continues year after year.
Although I didn’t graduate in Tucumcari, I quickly noticed that everyone is welcome and there are many activities for those who didn’t graduate here to participate in. At picnics, luncheons and the banquet, all who attend are drawn into the festivities.
Several years ago, I attended the Golden Rattler luncheon and was quickly adopted into the fold. It was so rewarding to be accepted and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the many stories that were told that day.
Many of those dear people are now gone. Classmates remember and share stories of those who passed away. Each year, the number from each class is less than the year before. When the reunion is over, it is uncertain who will return again.
Christians have a reunion to look forward to someday. It is a reunion larger than any ever held on this earth and larger than all the reunions of all the ages put together. I am talking about the wondrous reunion waiting for us someday in heaven.
Preparations are being made for us even now. Jesus spoke of this in John 14:1-3, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” The place prepared for us is much more special than we can ever imagine because Jesus is waiting there for us.
Over a century ago, a schoolteacher from Philadelphia named Eliza Edmunds Hewit wrote the hymn When We All Get to Heaven. The words were written to teach her pupils more about the gospel of Christ and all they had to look forward to in heaven. In the chorus of the song she wrote these words: “When we all get to heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be!
“When we all see Jesus, We’ll sing and shout the victory!”
I often think of those who have died and gone on to heaven. There are times that I miss them so much and wish I could talk with them. I could let myself sink into despair, but instead I cling to a passage in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 that states, “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
A great reunion is coming someday. It will be a reunion that will last forever as we will rejoice together and give glory to Jesus Christ and His Father who made it all possible. The promise of being together with the Lord forever keeps us going until that wonderful day of rejoicing arrives.