By Mike Day

What are your plans for the Fourth?

Hot dogs? Gathering with friends? Time at the pool? Fireworks?

This Fourth of July weekend should be an exciting time as more people are vaccinated and eager to get together for a fun time with friends.

Growing up just north of Atlanta, the Peachtree Road Race was synonymous with this annual holiday for me. My dad faithfully ran the July 4th race for decades, and I made the early morning trek down to Lenox Square to make the run to Piedmont Park a few times too. Later in the afternoon, I remember dad lighting the charcoal grill as mom finished forming the hamburger patties and opening a package of hot dogs.

Like most holidays, we tend to get so focused on current happenings and the fun time of being with friends that we fail to reflect on the purpose for the holiday. On this 245th celebration of the Declaration of Independence, here are a few thoughts to ponder.

Courage

The men who signed this document knew they were placing their lives on the line if they were captured by England. Several of these men faced imprisonment and the destruction of their homes and property because of standing up for what they believed. These men had the courage to make the tough decision because they desired a future that would be better for their children and grandchildren, even if it meant hardship for them.

Creator

With their understanding of a Creator who brought this world into existence and gave shape to each individual life, the signers of the Declaration also acknowledged that every person is created equally and had certain rights which include the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” While not all of these initial signees truly considered every person as equal and granted these rights, the words of this document paved the way for conversation, debate, and the eventual passing of laws that did make the words of this document applicable to all.

Celebration

On July 3rd, 1776, John Adams penned a letter to his wife predicting that the decision made with the adoption of the Declaration of Independence would one day be an annual celebration in our country. While he incorrectly thought the day celebrated would be July 2, he did accurately foresee a festive gathering of people lighting up the skies and enjoying games and fun as they looked back to what happened in 1776.

I wish you a happy 4th of July. I hope you’ll pause at some point this weekend and remember the courage of these men as they risked their lives for the better future of our country. Give thanks to our Creator God for the gift of life and the freedoms we have in our country. And as you celebrate that we live in the greatest country in the world, let’s make a commitment to constantly work together toward making our country even greater for the children and grandchildren who come after us!

Mike Day is the pastor of Celebration Church.

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