For millions of Americans, Memorial Day Weekend represents the beginning of summer. We celebrate with the Indy 500, NASCAR, cook-outs, pool parties, and parades. With the festive nature of the weekend, it can be easy to forget the somber roots of this Holiday and its serious purpose.
Born out of the tragedy of the Civil War, Memorial Day provided an opportunity to honor and remember those who died fighting. It was World War I that transformed Memorial Day into an occasion to honor military personnel who died in all wars. We do not celebrate their death, but we honor their bravery, courage and sacrifice on our behalf. Though it is certainly appropriate to take time out to reflect on our military men and women who died in service of their country, I personally find it quite fitting that we commemorate their sacrifice by living the lives and enjoying the freedoms they died to preserve. It speaks volumes of the American spirit.
It also reflects a biblical principle that is foundational to the Christian life. In Galatians 2:20, Paul says that “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” This verse and the surrounding passage contain some powerful and complex truth, but one simple and foundation observation is this: the proper response to Christ’s sacrifice is to live life. After all, Jesus himself said he came “that they may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10).”
The Christian life is just that – a life. Yes, it’s a life born from death. Yes, it’s a life that stands in bright contrast to a dark past. Despite this, it is not God’s intention that we dwell on the guilt, sin and death. We appreciate the death of Christ that redeemed us from our own death and we most effectively demonstrate that appreciation by living a life fully devoted to Him.
During Memorial Day this year, be sure to reflect on the brave heroes of the past, but also enjoy the life they sacrificed to give you. As you do, remember that Jesus paid the ultimate price so that you could live an abundant life that is filled with His joy and peace and is totally devoted to Him.