Triumphant Celebration. La Vie en Rose, Part 5

The first monument that we recognized as our taxi entered Paris was the Arc de Triomphe. It stands at the centre of la Place de Charles de Gaulle, where twelve avenues converge, right at the top of the famous shopping area called les Champs Elysées (Boy! French people sure like to shop!).

You can imagine the traffic around this renowned place, so much that pedestrians have their own underground walkway to access it.

In 1806, right after his victory at Austerlitz, Napoleon I ordered the construction of the Arc de Triomphe. It was finally finished in 1836, 30 years later. The design of this Arc was inspired by the antique Arch of Constantine in Rome, but it ended up being twice as high and twice as wide as the original. Although it was designed by the French architect Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin (A bit long for a first name, don't you think?), it had to be completed after his death by Jean-Amand Eaymond (A bit easier to pronounce!)

The purpose of the Arc of the Triomphe was to celebrate major victories during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Thus, its name! Each great victory is engraved at the top of the Arc, along with a list of 558 generals. In addition, there are four relief sculptures at the base of the Arc celebrating the Triumph of 1810; Résistance, and Peace and the Departure of the Volunteers, also known as La Marseillaise. Finally, the tomb of the unknown soldier can also be found beneath the Arc.

The biggest celebration at the Arc de Triumph happened in 1944, at the end of World War II. During the liberation, General Charles de Gaulle (From there the name of the place) marched victoriously through Paris. Every year on Armistice Day (November 11), there is a great celebration in memory of the triumphant victories over the German armies and over the despot kings of the past, as well as a commemoration for all of those who died for the cause of freedom.

We have an even bigger cause to celebrate, so big that we should be celebrating it daily.

"Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." (Rom 8:14-17 NIV)

Thanks to Jesus who died willingly for our freedom, we now have the possibility of becoming not only the sons and daughters of God, but also "co-heirs with Christ"! No need to be enslaved to fear any longer! Jesus set us free! Claim it and you will receive it! Isn't that cause for the biggest celebration of all times?

There is one part of this victory, however, that we often seem to forget. We need to share "in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." Just like the French people. Before they could share in the joy of D-day, they first had their share of suffering during all of those wars!

So when we are facing temptation, let's remember that the pain of resisting is but a small part of the suffering that will lead us to "His glory!" Or if we are feeling much like an atomic bomb in our anger, remember that to resist the temptation to get angry is but a fraction of the pain that giving in would bring, and this tiny bit of suffering will lead us to victory. If our addictions are knocking on our door, keep it closed. The pain involved in doing so is but a component of that suffering that leads us to utter joy. Remember: We aren't alone in this. If we rely on Jesus, He will give us the necessary strength!

"Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead." (2 Cor 1:9 NIV)

And remember. Though this kind of suffering may look overwhelming at the time, it is insignificant compared to what God has planned for our eternity!

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." (Rom 8:18 NIV)

Are we ready to celebrate daily? Temporary suffering will lead to eternal bliss if we let God shine through it all!

Rob Chaffart

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