Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Family Comes Fourth

I'm not used to this...this July 4th thing.

Don't get me wrong, Independence Day is one of my most cherished holidays not only because it's nice to see folks celebrate our nation at least one day a year, but also because I'm usually on small town America.

It's an odd feeling not to look out a window and see someone who has made a patriotic fashion choice - without the influence of alcohol - one which they probably wouldn't make anywhere else.

In a few days we'll be back in "small town" America...but not today.

Today we're home in the big city, and although there are various parades, and ceremonies, and fireworks shows...they're scattered all about so it lacks that feeling of community...of family.

July Fourth represents many things to me, but for the past decade or more it has come to represent a freedom with which I was in truth unfamiliar. The liberty to be loved unconditionally by family. I'm used to gathering in a great group and watching fireworks, listening to the family members who can sing (that being every family member except me) harmonize patriotic hymns on the shores of Lake Erie. I'm used to eating far too many brats, burgers and still having room for ice cream. I'm even used to trying to appreciate the fifteenth firetruck in the local parade even knowing it's about to blast its siren at ear splitting levels, just like the fourteen firetrucks before it.

It's corny and antiquated...and altogether charming.

So, in all honesty, I feel a bit too independent on this particular Independence Day.

Yet that realization, makes me appreciate such blessings all the more.

Our family celebration is still near at hand, and forever etched in my heart.

God sovereignly made me the first, the basic, before he did anything else. I was brought into being a long time ago, well before Earth got its start. I arrived on the scene before Ocean, yes, even before Springs and Rivers and Lakes. Before Mountains were sculpted and Hills took shape, I was already there, newborn; Long before God stretched out Earth's Horizons, and tended to the minute details of Soil and Weather, And set Sky firmly in place, I was there. When he mapped and gave borders to wild Ocean, built the vast vault of Heaven, and installed the fountains that fed Ocean, When he drew a boundary for Sea, posted a sign that said no trespassing, And then staked out Earth's Foundations, I was right there with him, making sure everything fit. Day after day I was there, with my joyful applause, always enjoying his company, Delighted with the world of things and creatures, happily celebrating the human family. - Proverbs 8:22 (The Message)