There’s a joke that’s been going around for years: “Do they have a Fourth of July in England?” Many Americans respond, “No,” but the answer is, “Yes, they have a fourth of July everywhere – they just don’t celebrate American Independence!”
[Although July 4 is the day we set aside to celebrate America’s freedom from Great Britain, that really should be celebrated on July 2, the day in 1776 that the Second Continental Congress voted to be “free and independent states.” July 4 is the day they approved the wording of the Declaration of Independence, which wasn’t signed until August 2.]
For me, July 4 is a day of double celebration. Not only is it a national day to celebrate freedom, but it is also a personal day to celebrate freedom because I was baptized on July 4 (1965, when I was 15 years old). America’s declaration and subsequent war for independence set us free to govern ourselves. In baptism, Christians are freed from sin and from the constant drive to “make things right” with God. Christ has made things right through His sacrifice, and we are joined to that sacrifice in baptism and become children of God.
We are free. As a nation, we are free to choose our leaders, to worship as we wish, to say what we want to say, and to exercise many other rights and privileges. As God’s children, we are free from the chains of sin and death, free to live as people of the light, free to live forever in the presence of our God and Savior. Praise God for freedom!