This past week has seen such a joyous celebration for Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee, marking seventy years of service to the UK and beyond. It has been a wonderful nationwide occasion to gather with friends, family, and neighbours in a special season to commemorate our monarch, display national pride, and determine to choose joy after a challenging two years for everyone.
Even before the jubilee festivities, we had recently been listening to my old Beatles greatest hits album. Singing along to favourites like All You Need Is Love, Love Me Do, and I Want To Hold Your Hand, have transported me back to being a Californian teenager in my last two years of American high school. Driving was such a novelty back then and I recall enjoying my newly found freedom by cruising out to the beach with the car windows down and singing along to these same wonderful tunes. Never would I have thought that twenty years later, I would find myself revisiting these timeless tunes with my own children and in England!
I’m accustomed to seeing red, white, and blue decor annually in America for the Fourth of July, but it seems to be a really special treat when the UK, on more selective occasions, bursts out its red, white, and blue. Seeing streams of Union flag bunting everywhere, small businesses and large joining in, and even the zoo, all having special decorations up for Her Majesty have been wonderful to observe!
We’ve eaten more scones in the past week than we normally do in a year! I could tell it was a special celebration when the clotted cream was completely sold out at our local grocery store! And the cakes! From Victoria sponge to Battenburg, lemon drizzle, fondant fancies, and so much more, it has been a week to remember!
Besides having quality time with my husband’s extended family, one of the weekend’s highlights was our street party with our neighbours. We live in a small cul-de-sac and everyone came out to celebrate together! It was fantastic to have proper conversations with our neighbours, all while enjoying delicious foods and games for the children. It is in those little moments that I am reminded about true community and that as human beings, we are designed to be in relationship with each other and sharing life together.
These moments are also like a bit of heaven coming down to earth. We catch a glimpse of the delight God takes in having relationships with the people he created, which reminds us that the earthly celebrations we have now are just a small fraction of the massive party we will eternally celebrate together through Jesus one day.
In our very broken world of war, famine, and a rising cost of living everywhere, I am so thankful when God allows us to have moments to recognise the good that still exists. I am grateful that there are indeed many blessings to find all around us, no matter how many things are going horribly wrong locally and beyond. Each celebration of ours reminds of the greatest homecoming we will ever have someday! And until then, let’s keep looking for the good in our lives, bringing sunshine to the dark pockets of our communities, and remembering that the greatest celebration of God’s full victory is still yet to come!
Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning, or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’”Revelation 21:1-5