Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 NIV

Some holidays, if I’m going to be completely honest, didn’t impact me very much when I was a child. For much time growing up, they were simply excuses not to go to school (or have an assembly). I never really thought about Labor Day, Memorial Day, President’s Day, or Veteran’s Day for their actual meanings. Or even if I did, it was just a lesson in school or a book.

And as I grew into adulthood, some of these holidays gained new meaning, while others didn’t. But no holidays changed as much for me in the past few years as Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day.

Yesterday, as you likely know, was Memorial Day. I’ve appreciated those in the military for as long as I’ve known what they were, but that appreciation became much more real – more personal – when someone in my family made the ultimate sacrifice for my, and our, freedom.

Well, not in my BLOOD family. And it wasn’t even anyone I knew very well (in fact, IF I met him, it was perhaps once or twice in passing). But this young man who gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country almost five years ago was very important to some people who were very important to me. He was a member of my church family.

nick roushArmy Corporal Nick Roush was killed on Sunday, August 16, 2009, at age 22, in Afghanistan when an IED exploded. He was a local kid, an attendee of my local church (at the time) since he was a boy.

Like I said before, I never knew him. But I knew – and loved – people who did. His sweet parents. His dear friends. Those who grew up with him, and those who grew up with his parents. And suddenly, the war, and its tragedies, were personal.

I lined the road when the motorcade brought his body from the local airport to our church. I read every article I could find. I blogged about it: not once, not twice, not three times, but FOUR times on my personal blog. It clearly changed my perceptions – my perspective.

Christ is like that too. I’d heard of Him – barely in passing as a child, more as I grew older. But it wasn’t until it BECAME PERSONAL that it changed my life. Until he was more than a person – until He became my Savior. My friend. Until I really and truly understood His sacrifice – and that He did it for me.

Sometimes it takes death to make something personal – meaningful – to you.

I will never be the same.

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