Today we remember and honor all those who gave their lives for our freedoms as Americans. This by itself is a God-exalting practice, for it is right to give honor to those whom honor is due. There are some other ways we can point our children to God on this day.
First, we can talk with our children about the word Memorial. Memorial Day exists as a day of remembrance. Our nation considers it important that these men and women who gave their lives not be forgotten. It is important for the soul of our nation that we not take our freedoms for granted, and that we recognize the costs at which they have come to us.
So also, the Bible calls us time and again to remember our God and the mighty acts He has done. God has given us memorials by which He continually brings His goodness back into our minds. The Word of God, the local church, the Lord’s Supper – all of these are examples of memorials reminding us of God’s love. Jon Bloom has a good little article about this God-centered use of Memorial Day that you can read here.
Second, Memorial Day is a prime opportunity to talk about the nature of love. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). It is one thing to say we love our nation, but true love expresses itself in sacrifice. So also, we show our love to God and to others in the ways we sacrifice for them. We might talk with our children about how loving their siblings might mean giving up something they want to play with or do. Love counts the other person as more significant than ourselves.
Finally, and most importantly, we can connect Memorial Day to God’s glory by pointing to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Just as thousands of men and women have given their lives that we might be saved from tyrannical governments and terrorism, Jesus Christ has given His life that we would be saved from God’s righteous wrath. Our sins stand against us piled high like Mount Everest, but Jesus – the Son of God – laid down His life and died, bearing God’s wrath fully away. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” What a wonderful gospel conversation we might have with our children on this day!
Let us remember those who died to secure our freedoms. Let us also remember Him who died that we would be eternally free.