Perspectives are different, everyone has one, and they vary based on where you come from.
We had a foreign exchange student from Brazil live with us for a year. He was confused about why many people flew the American flag outside their homes. He felt loyalty to his country but the concept of displaying the flag to demonstrate his love of country seemed strange to him.
It was not done in his culture. I explained that the flag represented much to Americans. We fly our flag because, one, it represents freedom. Two, it represents sacrifice. Three, it represents the responsibility of being free; and four, flying our flag shows our dedication to our nation.
I don’t know if he ever fully understood the need to attach a flagpole to the front porch.
When I drive through my small town there are many flags on display, lining sidewalks, facing the streets, draping railings and, yes, attached to houses. And it's not just because we are getting ready to celebrate Independence Day. We are proud of who we are.
My exchange student’s confusion over our flag is similar to the confusion we see in the world over Christian traditions. From the perspective of a Christian, the cross is a symbol of sacrificial love. To the non-believer it is nothing more than a morbid story. No matter how much we talk, unless there is a change of perspective, the cross will continue to have no meaning.
The same can be said for freely giving a percent of our income to the church, or about attending church on Sunday mornings instead of sleeping in. What are meaningless activities to some are the basis of a relationship with eternity to others.
During this holiday season I hope you will fly your flag and reflect on its meaning. I also hope you will examine the meaning of the cross. Is it a piece of wood, or does it represent the sacrificial love of God?