The month of July reminds me of family reunions, fireworks, fish fries, and fun times. I remember slurping watermelon on the back porch, running to catch the ice cream truck, and playing “steal the flag” with the neighborhood kids until dark.
I always looked forward to our annual trips to Opryland USA where we rode the Wabash Cannonball and the Flume Zoom and walked for miles and miles. We cooled off by going inside the air conditioned music shows. I can still visualize the red, white, and blue of my favorite show, “I Hear America Singing.” Even as a child I felt a great sense of patriotism to hear those songs about our flag and our country.
I think there might have been protests and unrest and possibly war somewhere, but we kids focused our attention on the good, not the bad. We chased butterflies, caught lightning bugs, and ran barefoot through the park. As a result, I remember a childhood full of blessings.
Ah, to bring back those good ol’ days.
Our country could use a good blessing right about now.
In Hannah C. Hall’s board book God Bless Our Country, the old eagle proudly raises the American flag while the young eaglets fold their hands in prayer and thank God for their freedom.
All God’s creatures focus on the blessings of the summer season. The squirrel, the raccoon, the beaver, and the bear cheer because their country makes them proud. The animals work side by side as they picnic together and appreciate their blessings.
In the poem “I Hear America Singing,” Walt Whitman portrays a nation bound together by its diverse work force and strong work ethic. From the mechanic to the carpenter to the young mother, all unite their voices in harmony, not in discord. Their “varied carols” echo throughout the land, and the voices of these ordinary people blend together as one. Their reverberations are blessed and beautiful, not baleful and broken.
Melissa Henderson’s picture book Licky the Lizard also shares a great example of harmony among God’s creatures. When Licky startles a lady one morning, she screams, spills her coffee, and shakes with fear. However, when both the lady and the lizard stop shaking and start showing love to each other, they soon realize they have nothing to fear. We can learn a lesson from Licky and the lady.
As I was watching an episode of Downton Abbey recently, I reflected upon the characters’ obvious class differences and their clearly similar emotions. All experienced doubt and hope as well as joy and sorrow. All were human.
Yes, we are living in uncertain times. We may be unsure of strange creatures and deadly viruses, and we may be afraid of the dark. However, “God is our place of safety. He gives us strength. He is always there to help us in times of trouble.” –Psalm 46:1
Peace is possible if our minds are stayed on Him.
We live in a wonderful country with many blessings and freedoms and possibilities. Let’s work together, with God’s help, to keep it that way.
Enjoy your freedom, and thank God for your blessings!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
–Katharine Lee Bates
Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. –Isaiah 40:31
2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 133