Jim and I returned from our visit to Lake Junaluska filled with the Christmas spirit! We’d been to two concerts by the Lake Junaluska singers, one of Handel’s Messiah and the other filled with Christmas songs and hymns. We’d even attended a performance by the Cockman family, a talented Christian “bluegrass” group spanning three generations of performers. Our accommodations at the Lambuth Inn were just right from the delicious meals to the old timey decorations in the lobby. It was a great Christmas present to ourselves and we made many pleasant memories. If I’d been asked to describe Junaluska after my first day there, I would have said, “it’s absolutely heaven on earth to me!”

I’ve been in love with the Junaluska Assembly since Jim first brought me there in 2002. The cross, which is lit at night, is an inspirational sight and sets the tone for the entire community. It is a safe haven in this world in which we live. I have always enjoyed an opportunity to walk by the lake and most of the time just went along the rose walk and over the first pedestrian bridge. On really cold days I’d bundle up and walk as long as I could stand the weather. I would always return happy, peaceful and spiritually invigorated no matter what the season or weather. In 2011, I was able to walk the entire path around the lake on two days of our stay. It was summertime and the early morning was perfect for such an excursion. I’d wondered what the distance was and this time I received the answer. The lake walk is 2.6 miles. I was able to take this walk three days in a row and thanked God for enabling this. The weather was perfect with temperatures in the high fifties to low sixties and there was no wind! For me that was a double blessing since I am not a fan of windy weather. I was truly in love with Junaluska again.

I didn’t mention this to Jim, but I had thoughts of asking if we might consider selling our NC cabin and finding a small place at Junaluska. We’d decided against this when we first considered the possibility due to the regulations set by the community in regard to pets, but I saw many dogs out on walks with their owners and thought things had changed. When we returned home, I checked some properties out on-line and my enthusiasm was growing until I checked the written laws. Dogs could only be walked on leash even on your own property unless they were in a pen and no fences are allowed except for decorative ones approved by the community. A wet blanket was thrown over my enthusiasm and I realized that it’s a great place to visit but not one for my permanent home. We missed Rudy, our pride and joy. It was our first vacation away from him in the three years we’ve had him and I’d rather he was with us.

All of this made me think more of my description of Junaluska as “heaven on earth.”  I now realize that there is no heaven on earth. It’s reserved for that special home in eternity, our Father’s home and the only place that will ever be perfect because it was not designed by man. No place on earth will ever satisfy everyone. We all have our special likes and idiosyncrasies, but in heaven we will be made new and washed clean of all our sins and desires. We will be in the place of perfection, the home God designed for Himself and shares with us. It will satisfy all of us!