I grew up with the mindset of "when we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be", to quote a song we used to sing. Little was spoken about our life here on earth, except for following God's rules. And the message I heard was that God's invitation to us was about us following the rules.
But that has all been turned upside down. What kind of life would we have if we couldn't experience the Lord's reign in the here and now? With Jesus' birth, life, death and resurrection, we can experience His Kingdom now. We live in the hope of Jesus- the Kingdom he ushered in while He was here on earth, and the hope that He will make all things new.
Over the past six years especially, this has been very important to me. My daily life is not a dull, waiting-it-out-for-heaven one. It's one guided by the knowledge that God's Kingdom can come in the here and now, and it's my calling as a citizen of His kingdom to welcome it into my life and the lives of those around me.