What does freedom mean to you? To many, freedom means having choices, such as having the right and privilege to choose one's own friends, career, church, place to live, etc.
There are still many people that have few (or none) of these choices. That ought to give us pause to think ... and to pray for them. What a blessing it is to live without fear of persecution! What a privilege to vote and take part in our communities, states and nation.
We take far too many things for granted, don't we? On this July 4th -- and every other day -- I don't want to forget those men, women and children who are abused and tortured because they disagree with the "powers that be." I don't want to forget those who sacrificed their all so I could have the freedom I still enjoy today.
On a much lighter note ... it's also a privilege and joy to celebrate July 4th with those we love. We have the freedom to make our own choices: Will we eat out or cook out? Go fishing or hiking? Swimming or sailing? Travel or not? View the parade or shop the mall? Go to the river to watch the big fireworks display -- or produce our own show in the backyard? So many choices -- and the freedom to make them.
When our children were small, we tried to make the day special day since Daddy was off work and it was a holiday. In the photo here, you'll see little patriotic hats they made on their own with bits of construction paper and glue. I would usually bake special treats to decorate, and we'd plan special ventures to the park or lake for a picnic. We also tried to include a brief discussion about what "freedom" means. Our children were too young to really understand the concept of freedom but they sure did enjoy the celebration of freedom!
The main event would take place that evening. Before the sun slid behind the horizon, the child would beg their Daddy to get out the sparklers so they could wave them around and "write" their names in the air. The simple fireworks their Daddy helped them choose were fun, too. I enjoyed watching them while they watched their little fireworks dance, pop, twist or whistle. Then, when the tame fireworks ran out, we all watched Phillip (a.k.a. Daddy) shoot off Roman candles and other "adults-only" fireworks. I would slip into the house near the end of the show and dip ice cream to enjoy after the grand finale.
Hope all of you have a wonderful holiday -- wherever you are. Stay safe, enjoy your family and friends and remember to thank God for the freedoms we still have ... and whisper a prayer for those that don't know the freedom of having freedom. I pray one day they will know what it is. Then, along with the rest of us, they can sing from the heart, "Let freedom ring!"