Many US citizens celebrate special holidays abroad - some are in the armed forces, others are on vacation, some are serving or working abroad.
If you know missionaries abroad, then perhaps you are like me, and think of their families when special holidays come.
"I wonder how they are celebrating today?, What kind of food will they enjoy? What about flying the US flag, and such?"
These are questions that have to be answered carefully in certain parts of the world for sure.
Several times through the years, I have been in Belize when Independence Day came. Once we had a large group of youth there working at a boarding school for boys.
Now being 'their guests' we knew it would be a little strange for the boys who might not understand.
Since almost all the staff were Americans, we wanted to make the celebration special for them. (Belize has their own Independence Day celebrations, I am sure!)
Ahead of time, this is what we decided to do: take a American flag on a display pole, several Uncle Sam hats, a small drum to roll cadence, and two hand-cranked ice cream freezers (to leave with staffers).
So early on July 4, we rolled out the flag and the drum, called the group into the center of the compound (like boy's scout camp).
There we said the pledge, sang the National Anthem, held hands and prayed.
Then the drum struck up a beat we used to march around the camp. It was a special time for us, for the staff and the boys.
Later in the day we enjoyed cool melons (bought in town). Then we were challenged to a fast game of soccer (football to them).
After a sound beating, we floated the Belize River for a couple of miles (green scum and iguanas plus a few other things floating along with us); then we were ready to crank the ice cream to on cake.
It was a most memorable day. Yet we were reminded, "how blessed we are to live in America".
I am reminded also of one of the first songs Mrs. Landis (Music Teacher) taught us at Central High School --America!
"My country, 'tis of thee; sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing: land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims' pride, from every mountain side, let freedom ring!
"Our sovereign God, to Thee, Author of liberty, to Thee we sing: long may our land be bright with freedom's holy light; protect us by Thy might, great God our King!"
With our freedoms being curbed at every level, with voices yelling "no, no, no" at every turn, and with our soldiers serving gallantly around the world to protect freedoms of others- we are reminded of various scriptures that call us to pray.
This month, we can pray for our elected officials, many who seem to be lost on life's highway.
We can pray for military leaders who are charged with responsibilities to protect, guard and insure our freedoms.
We can pray for our families to be strong in the Lord "and be of good courage".
May the patriotic fever infect us and cause us to be a "thankful, God fearing nation" that we have heard our parents talk about.
Let's celebrate our freedoms every day by serving God and our fellow man.