Many of you may not read this until late Monday when you return from vacation over the long weekend. Did you remember the reason for the holiday?
How many people forget the meanings of so many holidays? Start with Christmas. The campaign to keep Christ at the center of our celebration has hardly been successful in the church, much less at the mall. Then there is Easter. Many who celebrate the day with family gatherings seriously have no concept of what it means that a savior rose from the dead.
And then there is Thanksgiving. I will never forget reading in my son’s social-studies book, when he was in fifth grade, words that appalled me.
“The pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in order to thank the Native Americans for their hospitality and help in their first year in the new world.”
Do what? Really? Did someone really write that? Even if you do not want to give God any credit or recognition, why rewrite history altogether?
But then we come to Memorial Day. What is the significance to you? For many, it marks the first trip to the beach, the first cookout and a time to get away for the weekend. And there is nothing wrong with any of these activities.
But the purpose of the day is much more somber than that. The day is set aside to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy in this great land. Far too many have given their lives so that we might be free.
The parallels between Memorial Day and the cross are quite clear. Some have gone to war and died on behalf of our country. Every person who lives here has benefited from the sacrifices of so many.
And Jesus went to the cross to die in the place of anyone who is willing to trust in him, no matter their geography or ethnic background. He gave his life so that we might have the ultimate freedom — and for that we are grateful.
I am thankful to live in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” And I am even more grateful that an even better land has been secured and awaits my arrival at some undetermined time. I thank God that others have sacrificed for me. And especially that sacrifice of my savior, Jesus of Nazareth.
I trust that you enjoy these same freedoms, and that you will remember or remembered to give thanks this weekend.