From Kay Meyer's column in the St. Louis Metro Voice newspaper from 1994 to 2013.
What are your favorite memories of summers? What about the 4th of July—is it a holiday you and your family enjoy? Memories of this summer holiday may include: the fireworks, the American flag, picnics at home and away, visiting with family and friends, and barbeque chicken, pork steaks, or brats.
The 4th of July and summer activities can offer us opportunities to enjoy time with our family and friends and give us opportunities to share our faith. It’s awesome, isn’t it, to watch the fireworks at a Fourth of July event? The firework is ignited and skyrockets, explodes, and fills the sky with lights and beauty. Fireworks remind me of the special star that shined brightly when the Savior was born. The star of Bethlehem lite up the sky. We saw his star in the east (Matthew 3:2).
Have you ever thought about how the American Flag can remind us of God? First the colors…red, white, and blue. The red reminds us of the blood of Christ that was poured out to cover my sins and yours. And it also reminds me of the blood of those who died fighting for our country. And it reminds me of the love I have for my family.
The white reminds me that Christ was without sin and that our sins are washed away because of his suffering and death on the cross. The Bible tells us that our sins are washed away, as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). And blue reminds me of the waters of baptism (Col. 2:13), the oceans that God created, as well as the lakes and rivers, and the sky on a beautiful clear summer day.
What about the stars? The stars cause us to look up to the heavens where the Lord reigns in majesty. The morning star rises in your hearts (2 Peter 1:19). The flag also reminds me of the linen clothes that the Lord was wrapped in and discarded after he had risen from the dead. He saw the strips of linen lying there (John 20:6). The flag also reminds me of my father, who received an American flag at his funeral because he served in the Army during World War II.
So, how will you spend the rest of your summer and the 4th of July this year? Will you visit with family and friends and discuss how the things we enjoy about this special day can remind us of God? Will you enjoy some great barbeque? I encourage you to do just that.
Spending time together is important for families. So is talking about our faith in Christ with our loved ones. One of my favorite Bible verses is Deuteronomy 6:5-9, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
So, this summer you can have fun together and talk about your faith in your day-to-day life. The following are some other simple ways you can spend time this summer with your family and friends:
- Make and eat some home made ice cream.
- Take a small paintbrush and make water pictures on the sidewalk together. Or create a rainbow using colored chalk. Then talk about God’s promises.
- Pack a picnic dinner, walk to the park, and let the children or grandchildren play on the playground at the park. Then feed the ducks. Talk about how God created the ducks.
- Catch lightning bugs together and then let them go.
- Teach your child an outdoor game you used to play as a child.
- Teach your child a song from your childhood.
- Tell them stories about you when you were a child.
- Make crayon rubbings of the sidewalk, sewer, bricks, and trees with your child.
- Play water balloon volleyball. Use an old sheet to volley the balloons that are filled with water back and forth over the net. Don’t fill the balloons up to much. That way it takes a while before they break. And be prepared to get wet and laugh together.
- Take a public bus ride and eat lunch downtown.
Enjoy the summer and don’t forget to show your children, grandchildren, and other members of your family that you care. And tell them that God loves them too. For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
by Kay L. Meyer