What comes to mind as the Fourth of July approaches each year? The first thing I think of are the fireworks!

I can’t wait for the evening and ever darkening sky. Then a hush comes over the crowd as the first one is lit and lights up the sky.

One after another create a staccato in my chest. Boom! Boom! Boom!

I don’t want it to end. The surprising beauty illuminating the inky sky is like the palette of an artist exploding onto a canvas.

And when the finale takes my breath away, I’m left with an afterglow of silent remembrance and appreciation for the meaning behind this celebration.

From the beginning of our national independence, we have been encouraged to celebrate, and to do so loudly with fireworks, patriotic music, parades and festivals, along with backyard barbecues.

The Red, White and Blue are displayed everywhere and worn by most. And we bask in the afterglow of all the festivities from one generation to another, as our Founding Fathers hoped we would.

However, too quickly the day passes, weeks go by and the afterglow fades along with our passion and fervor.

Let’s get it back and keep it visibly contagious.

If you’ve ever had a family member serve in the military, you know the cost better than anyone. Truly freedom is not free and is paid for at a very high price: some securing our freedom with the ultimate sacrifice.

And, yet, how easily we can fall into the complaining, antagonistic attitudes that political divisions create, when it is unity that should be our goal.

Let’s have respect for one another, putting the other first and listening, really listening, to his or her point of view. Let’s reach a place of mutual agreement based on a strong, time-tested foundation of truth and justice.

The Founding Fathers knew that to build this nation on anything less than the truth and reliability of Scripture would have been futile.

Let’s not destroy the foundations our history embraces. Let’s open our eyes and ears and hear Jesus Christ’s prayer just before he went to the cross as seen in John 17:20-21, 23:

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one — as you are in me, Father, and I am in you ... that the world will know...”

This nation has its roots in God’s Word and his purposes for all mankind. Let’s not let the afterglow fade. Selah

Jan Merop, a prolific and award-winning writer, has had her column “Pause...and Consider” published weekly for almost 30 years. Her signature, Selah, indicating a time of silence, reflects her title. She and her husband, Ken, moved to Avery County two years ago and actively volunteer in the area. They have three sons and five grandchildren. Visit her blog Journeying with Jan at pauseandconsider.net.

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