Celebrations are joyous times, and the reasons we celebrate are many. We celebrate a new marriage, a new birth, a new job, or a new year. Festivals and holidays have been celebrated for centuries by each nation and culture. Though the celebrations may focus primarily from victories from wars and oppression, the people celebrate corporately. They use these designated days as opportunities to remember and reflect.
Recently, I had dinner with a very wise man. As we discussed this blog’s topic, I gave him a general idea of what I wanted to say. In his profound wisdom, Calvin recommended that I watch the classics. Adding some of my own: “Braveheart,” “The Patriot,” “National Treasure,” and (as appropriately and so originally titled) “Independence Day.” These movies speak of freedom from a type of bondage or oppression.
This week, our nation celebrates its Independence Day, our nation’s birthday. Though Independence Day occurred more than 200 years ago, we are thankful for the freedoms the day signifies. Because of those freedoms, we are blessed with opportunities to celebrate our history and freedom. We recognize this day as a gift.
We are free to celebrate with time away from the office. We are free to celebrate at special community events with spectacular fireworks shows. We are free to celebrate with watermelon and water sports. We are free to celebrate with fireworks, family, friends, and lots of food. We are free to celebrate with one another.
Though we may reflect on the historical aspect of this day, I recognize that we have been set free from things not related to a nation’s history but our own. We have been set free from oppression in other fashions, ways we no longer have to live. We no longer have to live oppressed mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
As many take times of celebrations and holidays for reflection, may we also practice remembering who God is, what He has done for us, and what He desires to do through us. God is personal and loves us so much He sent His Son to die for us (setting us free from bondage and oppression), so we can live eternally with Him (John 3:16). And He has given us the gift of this day to reflect on His goodness. Galatians says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1, NIV). We celebrate by being thankful.
So how do Independence Day and celebration connect to excellence? A tradition we may choose to begin this year is to reflect on God’s goodness. We have been given this day as a gift from God to celebrate the freedom in Christ that we have received.
Since the history of many celebrations involves reflection, choosing to exercise freedom is being able to step aside, reflect, and rest. When we celebrate, we enrich our lives for excellence. We refresh ourselves so we can be better.
Our connections challenge for the week: Take time to celebrate freedom. Reflect on God’s goodness and His many blessings, and be thankful. We are indeed free!! Refresh physically by taking a walk outside. Refresh mentally by listening to music or a favorite podcast or reading that book you have had on the shelf for too long.
** Coming this Friday begins a faith-focused blog: Faith Connections Friday. Our first series will explore attributes of God, how He relates to us, and how we can live for Him. See you then!