When you think of the Fourth of July what pops into your head? Home-made ice cream, fireworks, concerts, picnics, flags and streamers on kids bikes? Do you also think of courage, freedom, gratitude and faith? This holiday, which began to honor the risk taken by a group of men who dared to put their names on a parchment in defiance of the king of England, has morphed over time into simply a weekend of revelry.
To be sure Independence Day is worthy of our celebrations because it marks our freedom to worship, our freedom of speech and other freedoms listed in the Bill of Rights. I love making much of occasions like this one. It’s worth our time and effort to rejoice over the freedom God has graciously granted us in America.
However we rarely focus on the cost of our freedom or the foundational beliefs and values upon which our free society is built. That foundation was built on the truth of the Bible. Men and women so believed in its eternal unchanging words that they risked their lives to build a society based on its veracity.
So this Independence Day, I want to challenge you to take some time to focus on the courage and faith of others, both those who signed the declaration and other faith heroes whose lives are great examples for us and our children to follow today. The easiest way to add this to your holiday activities is simply to read some stories as a family. Reading together takes no prep other than finding the stories, yet it has value for all who hear about the lives of men, women and children who lived courageous lives because they knew Who they most wanted to please.
Have a wonderful Fourth of July and may you and yours focus on the courage of others, be inspired by their example, and give thanks for their ongoing witness!