He wouldn't tell us a thing, but he set out with purpose in the kitchen, creating a picnic feast. He even made sweet tea just the way I like it. We packed the van out. I thought I knew what he was up to. I was wrong.
We chatted along the way about dolphins in the bay. The kids continued to probe and guess our destination. It was the fourth, after all. Maybe we were getting an early seat for fireworks.
After a quick stop at a convenience store for ice and a Twix, the revelation began as we made our way down a quiet, country street far from the beach and prime firework territory.
"Kids, what do we do on the fourth? Other than shoot off fireworks?"
Silence from the backseat.
"OK. What should we do?"
My own thoughts breathed their voice silently, "Remember." Now, I know.
"We remember those who fought for our freedom. Who died. Who sacrificed for us." Yes. That's it. I know this road now. Seven years back we drove this back way to his graduation from EOD school.
As I floated back in time, he pressed on, weaving the connection. Sacrifice. Death. Christ. Freedom. LIFE.
He leans over as we made our way down a remarkably empty road to the memorial, "I want all holidays to be like this. Pointers to Christ."
And we ate and drank under the shade of a tree. In the quiet of solitude, our son bowed low and fingered their names, those who ran into the danger and took the blasts for others.
Later that evening, we would join the celebration. We would lift our heads to the skies and be awed by shower of light against the darkness. And I wondered: is this it? Is remembering meant to fuel the celebration. Deepen it. Our celebration of freedom, our joy begins with bowing the head and fingers tracing along the deep lines of sacrifice in Word made flesh. Then, and only then, can our heads be lifted to see the light of His glory. And perhaps it is the seeing that leads to living everyday lives of a celebration that flames and burst with His glory across the darkness.