I may be one of those rare people in a slim percentage that has a favorite holiday ranking above Christmas, Halloween, and Easter. While I like these other holidays, I usually find the day less exciting than the actual season (with the exception of Halloween because come on, it’s Star Wars Day!). One of the few holidays that I find to be exempt to that rule is Independence Day.
Independence Day, or as it’s more commonly known, the 4th of July was declared a federal holiday in 1870, though it was unofficially celebrated since we first declared our independence from England. While Mother Britain seethed on her side of the Atlantic, the Americans of the 18th century were busy celebrating the rise of a new era. The first pseudo-official celebration of the holiday took place in 1777 even as the newly declared American army fought for the independence they had yet to completely gain. Nevertheless, Americans were hopeful and when we did win the war, celebrations became more exuberant and widespread than ever.
It remains one of my favorite holidays to celebrate. Sure, it lacks the gift-giving, twinkly lights, and catchy music that gets stuck in our heads all year long, but it more than makes up for it with its deep sense of history, patriotism, and unifying nature. 4th of July is all about celebrating being American and the continued blessings God has bestowed upon us.
So before you go off to enjoy some of those continued blessings, like BBQ or fireworks or family, would you take a moment to pray this prayer with me?
God, thank you for the blessings you have bestowed upon this country and the blessings you continue to bestow. Thank you for your promise to keep us in Your grace so long as we do Your will. Guide us through the perilous times and the peaceful times, helping us to make wise decisions. Help us to be a united nation, to be strong when we could be weak.