Do you ever think about that? Do you ever ponder how it is that you were born where you were born and when you were born? I know it is the Sovereign Hand of God that determined the time and place of my birth. And while my parents had something to do with it, and their parents before them, essentially, it is all determined by God.
I’ve often pondered that truth. I was born in the 20th century in a city in northern Illinois, along the shores of Lake Michigan. I was born in the United States of America making me an American. My parents lineage can be traced to England and Poland and probably a few other places.
My father’s earliest ancestors left England for America’s shores less than 2 decades after the Pilgrims landed here in the 1600’s. They mostly ended up in the South and the family participated in all of the great conflicts of America, including the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, with allegiances for both the North and South. My mother’s family were relatively new comers to this land leaving Poland in the late 19th century where they mostly settled in Michigan as farmers.
Which brings me to today, Independence Day, the Fourth of July, the day we Americans remember our birth as a nation.
As a child the Fourth of July was one of my favorite holidays. It is still one of my favorites. Summertime, picnics, fireworks, and family. We wave the flag and celebrate with red, white, and blue. I didn’t fully “get” the uniqueness of America when I was young. Mostly I took it all for granted, like all children, and many adults. But I did grow up post World War II, during the Cold War and I did have some appreciation for the freedom I enjoyed here in America even if I didn’t fully comprehend it.
In 1776 in a letter to his wife Abigail, John Adams said the following:
I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.
You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.
We Americans don’t skimp on the pomp and parade and the bonfires and illuminations on Independence Day. But the idea of this day being commemorated as the great anniversary Festival of the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty has completely escaped us.
If you’re an American I hope you take a few minutes out of your celebrations to thank God for America and for His Sovereignty that placed you here. And if you’re not an American I hope you do the same because whatever country you call home you can be assured a loving God placed you there as part of His plan and purposes.
Happy Fourth of July!