Memorial Day is a significant day for our nation to gather together, as families, communities or organizations; to remember, reflect and honor the men and women who have died serving in the United States Armed Forces. Originally called, “Decoration Day” because it was a day to decorate the graves of those who had died during the Civil War; it was later deemed “Memorial Day” and made an official national observance on the last Monday in May with Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363). Different from Veteran’s Day, which honors all of those who have served, or who are currently serving in our Armed Forces; Memorial Day is a day of remembering and honoring those who sacrificed their lives while serving.
“Sacrifice”… this word conjures up a variety of definitions and examples in any given group of people. It has almost become like the word, “Love,” as we attach it to many acts and things. “I sacrificed sleep to stay up and watch the season finale of my favorite show,” “I sacrificed my Saturday to help my friend move,” or “I sacrificed half my lunch because my coworker forgot hers.” Merriam –Webster Dictionary defines “Sacrifice” as,
- “ the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone.”
- “an act of killing a person or animal in a religious ceremony as an offering to please a god.”
Real sacrifice is more than giving up a few hours of sleep, recreation or half of a sandwich; sacrifice involves pain, a significant loss, and an emotion or devotion behind a self-less act. Tears, and often times, blood; is shed. Men and women; sons and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, have sacrificed their lives so that others could live, evil could be thwarted and peace could return.
The ultimate example of sacrifice was expressed through Jesus. His life and sacrifice enabled us to “have life, and have it abundantly!” (John 10:10)
Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” NAS
Hebrews 10:14 declares, “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”
The sacrifice of the lives given by military men and women throughout the centuries has provided priceless protection and freedoms beyond understanding. We must be diligent to never take our freedom for granted. We can never forget the sacrifices that have been made so we can experience bountiful life and liberty. Memorial Day honors the gift of a life given so that many could live in peace.
Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice provides the path to be perfected, at peace with God and eternal life for all who would call upon Him as Lord and Savior. I pray that you would take time every day to reflect on all of the sacrifices that have been made so that we can live in faith and freedom. Thank you Lord for all of those who have sacrificed! Thank you most of all for your Son, Jesus!