Fireworks… fun, colorful, exciting … but they mean something more…

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Fireworks were going off all over the neighborhood last night… I was fun, it was colorful, and it was exciting! It will happen again tonight.

It occurred to me, however, that for those who risked (and in many cases) gave their lives to gain and defend our freedoms, “fireworks” likely had a different connotation. Some of our heroes this 4th of July are missing limbs, struggle with emotional challenges, or may lie beneath a headstone in a cemetery because of the “fireworks” they experienced. We celebrate what they paid for… painfully (but willingly)! I intend to pause today and offer thanksgiving for their sacrifice!

Reminds me of another symbol of victory (and sacrifice)… the cross! You see them everywhere… on buildings, as ornaments, and hanging around people’s necks as jewelry … we even have holidays that honor what the cross represents – “Good Friday and Easter.” I enjoy the benefits of the cross… forgiveness, salvation, moral and spiritual freedom, even life (because Christ conquered death!). But I need to remember – it cost Jesus EVERYTHING! He left heaven’s glory, came to earth as a baby, walked among us, lived a perfect sinless life, suffered incredible cruelty and injustice, and died on a cruel cross for your sin and mine! I would say it means something more to Him than it does to me! I want to remember! I want to express my gratitude! Freedom and forgiveness, courtesy of the cross!

Apostle Paul put it this way… “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!” (Galatians 6:14).

So tonight when I hear and see the fireworks… I’m going to remember, reflect and be grateful. And the next time I see a cross I intend to do the same thing.

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