More exciting than her first Christmas was three-year-old Denise’s first Fourth of July with fireworks.  Plastic lawn chairs of every size and color at her grandparents’ house were already crowded with guests and family when she and her mom arrived. Others were grilling, laughing, and playing games on a thick green lawn that nosed up to the golf course. Tonight, the rockets’ red glare during the fireworks show would be rock-throwing distance of her grandparents’ home.

By the time the sun set, Denise was so sticky with watermelon she could be hired out as contact paper and  so wet from a squirt-gun fight with cousins, she knew that her grandparents wouldn’t need to sprinkle the grass for a week. From her hot dog dinner, Denise was still wearing a little catsup around her smile. She plopped nosily into a small chair while holding her Popsicle. Mimicking her experienced fireworks-watching cousins, Denise scanned the sky. She was ready to OOoo and Ahhh with the best of them.  She knew how.

“BANG! POW! POP!” From the first explosion, Denise ran for a place to hide. Not finding any ramparts for cover, she hid her head in her mother’s lap.

“Sweetie, don’t you want to see the fireworks?”

The girl shook her head. The show went on with many colors worth Oooos and Ahhhs. Even her mother joined in. But Denise kept her face pressed into her mother’s thigh for the whole show. 

After the last rapid-fire finale lit up the sky and ended the show, her mother commented, “Denise, I’m so sorry you didn’t get to see the fireworks. ”

The wee girl declared, “I’ll learn to look next year when I’m older.” 

Some things we see and understand better when we’re older. The Fourth of July –American Independence Day—celebrates America becoming an independent nation in 1776. Freedom followed–paid in advance and maintained at a dear price in lives.

There is another freedom that has been purchased for a price and with blood. Unlike Independence Day for Americans, this freedom is available to everyone worldwide. It is worth celebrating each day, instead of just one red, white and blue gala event.

That freedom is the gift we receive from Jesus’ as our advocate. He stepped in willingly and sacrificed his life for ours. It was a gesture of love in action. Though it happened several thousand years ago, Jesus offered us a chance to be pardoned for all wrongdoing, to be forgiven, to be given hope and a promise of a wondrous live after our time on earth is up.  All it takes is believing Jesus is the son of God, asking for forgiveness, and confessing that Jesus is Lord.

Such a decision is powered with more “Oooos and Ahhhs”: than any fireworks show–for all of heaven along with Jesus himself celebrate your joining the family of God. You are free at last!

 [Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from, her speaking engagements and  website, Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]   


About Jo Russell

Jo’s humor, inspirational stories, articles and devotionals have spanned more than 40 years, with several national writing contest awards for humor. She's a contributing author in Chicken Soup for the Soul—Shaping the New You and Heavenly Humor for the Dieter’s Soul.

Contact Jo

Find Jo on Twitter and Facebook. To schedule Jo as a speaker or to discuss your writing project and receive a free quote, call her at 928-536-2479. Or contact her using the website Contact Form.

Feeling Blue?

That can't last. Listen in on four talks of Jo's to banish those blues:

How Do I Count My Blessings When the Toilet is Overflowing?

The Choice We Have Between a Dead Egg and a Live Savior

Never Give Up!

Can Kermit and Miss Piggy Marry and Live Happily Ever After?