We think of the year 1776 as a wonderful beginning. But, by the end of that first year, the Continental army was ready to quit. The ground was frozen and the army marched shoeless leaving a bloody trail behind them. Enlistments were running out and, by any realistic assessment, the end was near.
But, on Christmas Day of 1776 General Washington rolled the dice and crossed the icy Delaware. Two men froze to death. Powder was wet and Washington told the soldiers to use their bayonets. Washington himself led the attack on Hessian troops in Trenton. It was a gruesome battle, a horrific scene of suffering and agony. Even the commander of the Hessians was mortally wounded.
For Americans, our boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places. When you feel the warm sunshine on your shoulders while grilling out, remember that a group of men, 17 years old and younger, marched across frozen ground, forded an icy river, and fought with bayonets so that we could grill hamburgers and watch fireworks in our small towns.
 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
(John 12:24 ESV)