"Cheer up!! You Are Free!!

I decided to work on the observed 4th of July holiday, saving my floating holiday for later in the month. When I came in on Monday morning, an e-mail was waiting for me from a colleague at our affiliate company in Chennai, India. Here’s what it said:

Dear Jana:
Cheer Up!!
You Are Free!!
Best wishes for your Independence Day!

Political and religious freedom is something that I know with my mind, but rarely remember to be specifically thankful for. It often takes a conversation with my dear friends who are from or currently living in countries that are not free to remind me to be thankful for all that we have here in the United States.

But these five words were reminders to me to be thankful for the other big gifts in my life, too. In scripture we are often reminded to be thankful for what we have. Paul writes to the Colossians (Col. 3:15):

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father.

As I thought about the words in the note from half a world away, I thought about how true and good patriotism, as well as true and good living, flows from simple thankfulness and a remembrance of what we have been given.

Not only am I free politically, I have freedom from death in Christ’s sacrifice. It is out of a grateful spirit that I can find strength to go on and joy along the way. But still, there are a lot of days where I could use the written, shouted, or blared reminder that I should cheer up and remember what I've been given.

So, Happy Independance and “Cheer up!! You Are Free!!”

… God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. (Gal. 4:4-7)