Do you anticipate red letter days in June when family and friends gather together to ask the Lord’s blessings and celebrate graduations, weddings, birthdays, Father’s Day, Flag Day, family reunions, VBS, church services, and vacations? We should do so with exceedingly great joy!
Birthdays are milestones meant to be celebrated; yet, people in hard places pause to reflect with broken hearts and deferred dreams. Families whose children were killed at a concert in England will celebrate red letter days without their loved ones. Folks from our county who lost homes and treasures in recent storms will celebrate life while welcoming help from neighbors and friends. Parents with no clue where their prodigal sons or daughters are wandering or what they are doing pray for a ‘welcome home celebration’.
Children living in homeless situations would be happy to celebrate food and a room to call their own. Elderly people who have outlived family and friends celebrate in loneliness. Those who remember no more celebrate with loved ones made strangers by sickness that steals the gift of remembrance. People in bondage (separated from family for one reason or another) suffer through red letter days without knowing if the gift of going home will ever happen. And then there are those of us who have every reason in the world to celebrate!
Does Christ get center stage in our celebrations or put in a corner without recognition? Keeping Christ the center of ALL our days here on earth ensures a place in paradise when our time here ends. Hopefully, this story will stir hearts and sow seeds to give God the glory and honor as we celebrate the gift of life with every breath we take and every move we make. A close relationship with the Lord and loved ones gives love, laughter, and life filled with peace and joy forever and ever. God gives His children gifts that keep on giving long after we are gone…! Take time to enjoy His gifts daily with blessed assurance that when our work is done… He will call us Home!
Red letter days in June shine sunshine and sadness on my celebrations; what about yours? Family birthdays include my daddy, Sarah, my niece, and me. Appreciation for another birthday is a welcomed gift every year when June 14 rolls around. My best gift was knowing our family would gather to celebrate my favorite meal and homemade Crisco cake cooked by mother. Feeling special on my birthday started at an early age when mother convinced me flags flew on June 14 for her little girl.
I never confronted mother about her flag story, but she knew – that I knew – Flag Day was not all about me. I am only one citizen who loves my country and the good life God has given in our land flowing with milk and honey. The flags fly to celebrate our founding fathers who honored God as the cornerstone of our nation, people who established and fought for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, freedoms countless countries will never celebrate, and red letter days that many of us take for granted.
Joint birthday celebrations with daddy were often taken for granted by his little girl who gave little thought to him not being there to blow out candles with me one day. When that first birthday without daddy came, I cried. He loved seeing our names on the cake made with love by the woman who made sure family birthdays included prayers and pretty packages. Helping mother celebrate red letter days without the love of her life and my hero among us was hard. Twenty four years later on the same date my daddy passed away, the love of my life went to be with Jesus. Brokenhearted but blessed, I thanked God for the gift of children to help me as I had helped my mother.
Sarah, James first wife, was called Home to Heaven on June 12, 2009. James and I talked often about June 12 and April 22 (red letter dates that took our mates to Heaven and left us behind to carry on their legacy and love even when our broken hearts cried, ‘why Lord?’) Have you said those same words in similar situations? The wonder of it all can consume and crush happiness in one’s love story or cause greater faith to blossom with blessings never dreamed of.
Praising God every day for being a promise keeper, a loving Father who bind wounds and heals broken hearts in His perfect timing, and the Comforter who helps us move forward in faith and continue writing our stories is important. Making memories with loved ones is wise.
James and I embraced every minute The Master gave us to love one another with passion and purpose. We believed the beauty and blessings of loving and living with elaboration while writing our story, knowing ‘the end’ could come in the twinkling of an eye, were gifts given for us to enjoy daily…and we did!
Are you enjoying the gifts God has given to fill your stories with love, laughter, and longevity here and in Heaven? Are red letter days celebrated with thankful hearts and joyful praise with family and friends? Do you need to rekindle the fire of love for the Lord and your loved ones? It only takes a spark to get a fire going. Fan the flame of faith and let you love shine for Him and them. Take a good look around and if you’re looking down…for our world is filled with hatred and heartache, put a little love in your heart and the world will be a better place for you and me…you just wait and see! Trust, believe, and put a little passionate love in your heart and see what God can do!
Next week, I will share the rest of the story about red letter dates in our lives.
Becky Spell Vann is the owner and operator of Tim’s Gift and The Learning Station.