Christmas in July
On Independence Day this year, Beverly and I were with my mother, daughter, son-in-law, and our perfect grandchildren visiting my brother and sister-in-law, Mike and Cathy, at their home on Hilton Head Island just off the coast of South Carolina.
For my friends in other countries, Independence Day is the US holiday that honors the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, and the US becoming its own country. We celebrate with family reunions, concerts, barbeques, picnics, parades, and baseball games.
But most importantly we celebrate with fireworks…beautiful, colorful, loud, booming fireworks. The more, the better. So after a day of parades, face painting (Violet was a butterfly), and time at the beach, off we all went to see the fireworks at Shelter Cove Marina. 1
We gathered to celebrate independence…
After an early dinner, we wandered about the Marina, looked at boats, saw thousands of people dressed in red, white and blue, and watched the time slowly fade away as we waited for our fireworks. Did I mention it was very hot?
We made our way to a short stucco wall suitable for watching fireworks and claimed our spots. Nearby was a stage and soon we were listening to a man singing. 2 He even got children to join him and sing their favorite songs. Then something amazing happened.
One boy, maybe 8-years-old, whispered to the musician, who replied, “Yes you can!” The next thing I heard was the boy timidly singing. Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the plains, and the mountains in reply echoing their joyous strains. 3
…but were reminded of our dependence.
Then the crowd joined in. First just a few, then hundreds more. And that boy’s voice grew stronger! Come to Bethlehem and see Him Whose birth the angels sing; Come, adore on bended knee Christ the Lord, the newborn King. Gloria In Excelsis Deo! 4
On that day set aside to celebrate the birth of our country, God used a child to have us celebrate the birth of His Son. And I couldn’t help but think He was reminding us…The hearts of many are far from me. They follow their own rules. But Jesus left you an example. Follow in His steps. 5
In all things, following Jesus comes first! He will never leave us. He will never forsake us. He is the One and Only, in whom we can trust and depend. Celebrate!
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international ministry devoted to encouraging others and teaching them how to encourage one another. He is also an author and speaker. Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. Learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org.
Footnotes: (1) Shelter Cove has shops, restaurants, amphitheater, and scenic marina with sailboats and yachts. (2) Shannon Tanner, shannontanner.com. (3) First verse of the Christmas carol Angels We Have Heard On High, 1862 lyrics by James Chadwick, 1842 music by Francois-Auguste Gevaert. (4) Second verse of Angels We Have Heard On High. (5) Read Matthew 15:8-9; 1 Peter 2:21.
Pictures: Banner: Fireworks by Beverly Graham. 1st: Chuck and Mom Waiting for Fireworks, by Beverly Graham. 2nd: Shannon Tanner at Shelter Cove, by Chuck Graham. 3rd: Fireworks Over Water, by Beverly Graham.