More than usual, I felt the need to drink in the joys of this eve of the celebration of our Independence Day. It’s so quiet in my town, but yet I know our brave soldiers are fighting to keep our peace. I know there are places that aren’t so peaceful, where I wouldn’t be allowed out of my house to walk my dog without my husband or male relative accompanying me.
I thank God that Americans have fought and are fighting gallantly to keep our country secure. Because of their efforts, I enjoy the freedom to venture out of my house safely, to walk my dog in a serene environment, to drive my car throughout this great country.
John Adams wrote to his wife, Abagail, after the Continental Congress decided to declare the American colonies free from British rule. He said, “The day will be the most memorable in America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival…it ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade…bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this day forward, forevermore.” I remember that quote every Independence Day because up until that point, no colony had ever broken away from its mother country. It seems us brash Americans were the first and I’m proud of that!
I’m elated John Adams decided to include fireworks in that letter. To me, fireworks represent joy. It is a personal, deliberate decision to use the word joy. I could have said entertainment, amusement or astonishment. Fireworks bring out the child in me and all those wonderful memories of 4th of July celebrations gone by. Joined to those experiences by fireworks, I become lost in the color, light and sound. Fireworks remind me that there are larger forces at work, stronger than I could ever be, keeping me free. They are beautiful in their effect and surround me in the beauty of freedom – something I’ve enjoyed all my life without fighting for it.
It was just Lily, me and Jesus this afternoon under the summer sky. The thought echoed through my heart, “Freedom was purchased for me at a very high price.” John 8:36 states, “If the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.” It is up to me to use it wisely.
What brings you joy – especially during the summer?