“How Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!” Psalm 144:15
As I was making plans for the fourth of July, I started wondering if we really understand what and why we celebrate it. Are we just excited about getting a day off from work? Are we mainly focusing on the parades, the fireworks, the hot dogs, the ice cream, or maybe a trip to the lake?
So I looked up the real meaning of the day and read the real story. Men gave their lives and their fortunes so that future generations could have freedom – that precious commodity that rarely exists off our shores.
As America formed she grew into Thirteen Colonies. The American Revolution came about because these colonies wanted to leave Great Britain and form a new nation. On July 2, 1776 the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence. After voting for this, Congress then began to frame the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision. Congress, after debates and revisions, finally approved it on July 4. Thomas Jefferson was its principal author.
One interesting historical fact is a letter written by John Adams to his wife Abigail, sharing with her what he believed would happen with this monumental event and showing us how important this historical event was. However, his prediction was off by two days! We celebrate on the fourth because that was the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence:
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
So now we know why we celebrate the Fourth of July! It truly was an event that changed the course of history…and our nation.
If we had lost the war to Great Britain, all of these courageous men would have been hanged for treason. I hope we don’t forget the great sacrifices they made for us.
And you may also want to remember the sacrifice that Jesus gave. His life, death and resurrection were also events that changed the course of history…and our lives. Because of what Jesus did, we now have freedom forever.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
2 Corinthians 3:17
So before you head off to a parade or to the pool to celebrate this year, take the time to talk to your children, your grandchildren, your nephews and nieces about the importance and meaning of July 4th for our nation and the liberty we receive in Christ.