Thoughts on Fathers Day

It seems all cultures have had holidays—holy days—in honor of their gods. The one true God gave his people Israel several annual holy days, always in remembrance of something he had done for them, whether it be deliverance from slavery, providential care, or the blessings of a harvest. I don’t know if America was first in this trend, but somehow we have shifted the idea of holy-days to celebrate human relationships. We celebrate our mothers and fathers and even our romantic relationships (some day I’ll have to look up how St. Valentine’s Day became “Buy-your-sweetheart-some-chocolate Day.”) I’m not saying this is a bad thing. “Honor your father and mother” can include a special day, as long as it isn’t forced on anyone. However, I do seem some downsides to our human-based holidays.

Human relationships are fallible and temporary. Some people had excellent fathers, others never knew their dad, and sadly some had terrible fathers. Many who had good parents have lost them to age or disease. Still others are pained on these holidays because they’ve never been able to have children of their own, or perhaps they don’t have that special someone to celebrate Valentine’s day with.

It becomes apparent that any holiday based on human relationships is bound to be bittersweet for many, and downright painful for some. Such is the nature of our flawed and mortal existence.

Contrast this with celebrating our relationship with our Heavenly Father. His is a love that never ends and never fails. No matter who you, where you’ve come from, or what you are going through, we can join Jeremiah in singing, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:22-23, ESV). And if you long to share in something that leaves no one out, our weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper is a participation in the greatest act of love the world has ever known, which can be shared by all who have accepted that sacrifice. The remembrance of Jesus’ death is not just for a certain group of people who have been blessed with good relationships in this life. It is for everyone who has come to know the unfailing love of an eternal Father.