Thursday, June 24, 2010

Holiday Traditions: The 4th of July

Photo courtesy of Ace Clip Art

Do you have family holiday traditions? For you it can be the never ending, always familiar events that are special to your family. It could be the orange salad recipe that you have from great-grandma every Thanksgiving. Or maybe it’s the board game you play as a family every New Year’s Eve waiting for midnight to arrive. There is something comforting about family traditions. I want to give you some ideas about how to create your own family holiday traditions. I am going to focus on the fourth of July. As you read you can begin to think through, plan, and adapt some of these ideas to any holiday within the year.

My brother-in-law had decided to start a family holiday tradition for the fourth of July. He felt we were not focusing enough as families on the sacrifices our forefathers had made for the freedoms and blessings we enjoy in this land. Sean created a schedule for our day and asked everyone to come with a heart set on sharing together as families. Sean decided we should have a lecture every year. The lecture would be given with a lesson of our history and the hand of God upon our land.

My husband Neil gave the first “Landmark Lecture” as they will be called from here out. Those of us with musical talent were asked to share in a patriotic piano or vocal solo, or whatever patriotic artistic endeavor would be fitting to the occasion. The ladies provided all the food. Sean created many of the games for the day. Invitations were printed and given to each family coming.

The invitation was as follows:

A Day of Remembrance and Thanksgiving :4th of July Family Gathering

10:00 promptly You are cordially invited to share in this day of celebration and praise. We will be observing the birth of our Nation

The schedule of events is as follows…
~ 10:00- arrive at Mr. and Mrs. A’s home
~10:15-12:00- pastimes and Amusements
~12:30-1:30- A 4th of July Feast
~1:45-? 2006 “Landmark Lecture” (Prov. 22:28)
~?-3:00- Prayer Meeting
~3:00-3:45-Artistic displays of patriotism

Come with all the patriotic zeal and sincere feelings of gratitude for liberty that your native heart can muster. It will be a time to give thanks to God for the rich blessings we enjoy, as inheritors of this promised land through the nearly unappreciated sacrifices of our forefathers.

Our Pastimes and Amusements consisted of some clever water games created by Sean. We also played lawn bowling, hide-and-go-seek, wiffle ball, and other games through the day. We needed a time to calm down from our outside fun before the lecture and prayer. Lunch provided family sharing and a scrumptious meal of grilled chicken, hamburgers, and all the sides was served.

Our great first Landmark Lecture was followed by a prayer meeting where we were to focus our prayers in thanksgiving to God and in prayer on behalf of our nation. During our musical artistic displays we were given small American flags and blue “pom-pom” sticks to wave. (The children will enjoy this!) As we all waited to leave for the fireworks display we played a few more water balloon games.

Our celebration was held on a farm. The 4 wheeler and a golf cart were brought out for rides. All in all it seemed the consensus of those who attended that they had more fun in that one day than ever before.

Each holiday you can add decorations that are appropriate for that day. Special pictures can be drawn for or by the children. Scriptures, or notable quotes, can be written out or typed and be placed around the food and seating area as an extra remembrance of the holiday being celebrated. For this 4th of July celebration I had found quotes of the Founding Fathers that I wrote out on blue and red construction paper and placed in prominent places in the kitchen and on the tables for all to read. It would be a simple addition to the day that can be kept and reused the next year.

I will share the quotes I used:

“Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered a subject of the Universe.” James Madison

“We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall secede in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.” Benjamin Franklin

“The sacred writings of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature by the hand of Divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.” Alexander Hamilton

“Of all dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.” George Washington

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are a gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.” Thomas Jefferson

“It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.” Abraham Lincoln.

I hope you have been given some ideas and encouragement to plan your next family holiday as a special time of sharing with your family. As the years go by your children will appreciate these traditions you have laid in their memories and heart.
From Jennifer Allen



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