Tomorrow it’s Father’s Day.
Father’s day is an annual event – it’s a day set aside to celebrate and honour Fathers. It’s a day that is celebrated in many countries across the world (mainly on the third Sunday in June, though this does vary), and it seems that in some places it has been celebrated since as far back as the Middle Ages.
The origins of the day vary from country to country… apparently in France it came about because in 1949 a company selling lighters wanted to increase their sales – father’s who were most deserving of winning a lighter were to be put forward, and the winner was decided on la Fête des Pères (Father’s Day), the third Sunday in June. This date officially became Father’s day in France 3 years later.
There are various traditions associated with the day, but in most cultures it includes children spending time with their father, and giving gifts. In Germany, it’s traditional for groups of men, on Father’s day, to go on a hike pulling small wagons with wine or beer. It’s often used as an opportunity to get drunk. This tradition may find its roots in the 18th century, where Christians performed ascension day processions in farmlands. Men would be seated in a wooden cart and carried in to the village plaza where the mayor would be waiting to award a large piece of ham to the father with the most children!
So why are we telling you these things about Father’s Day here on Gospel-Centred Parenting (other than the fact that it’s mildly interesting)?
Well we thought it would be good for us to think about three ways that we can help our children engage with the gospel on the occasion of Father’s day.
- The reality of fatherhood should serve as a picture for us, pointing to and telling us something about what our God is like. Isn’t it incredible that our God chooses to identify himself as a father – as Father of Jesus, and (through adoption) as our father too! Father’s Day must be his day too then – why not develop a tradition with your children that will help you to remember that Father’s day is His day first? Be creative with what that could be…
- Maybe pray to him over breakfast, giving thanks for your adoption?
- Or make it a tradition to bake a cake and decorate it with the words “Happy Father’s day, God!”.
- Perhaps you could always give a small financial gift to a charity working in something close to our Father God’s heart – mission work, or something working with widows and orphans?
- Or maybe you could just make sure you always buy a Father’s Day card for God too, and get your children to write in it something that they’re grateful to their Father God for from the past year?
- Help your children be grateful for fathers. If the father is still present in your children’s life, that is a kind gift of God and you shouldn’t take it for granted, and nor should your children. Broken marriages are tragic and prevalent in our society, and other families have lost fathers through death. Help your child to be grateful for their father, if he’s still present. in their lives.
- The gospel should work out into our lives to give us compassion like our heavenly Father. So if your children are old enough, help them to pray for children who are without a father. Similarly, if there are couples you know who have been unable to have children, pray for them. Or pray for single men in your circle of relationships – in your church or neighbourhood or friendship group – for some of them who long for children of their own Father’s Day may be a hard day as it highlights to them the lack of their own children. Maybe you could make it a tradition for your family to include some of these people in your day somehow? Have them round for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Organise an annual walk and make sure to invite some of those who might be struggling with Father’s day.
Father’s day is something that will come around every year. Why not try to help the gospel shape the day and thus make it a day that will help you and your children grow in your appreciation of the gospel, and in their gospel-heartedness.
Do you have any more ideas for a gospel-centred Father’s Day? Why don’t you let us know what you’re getting up to tomorrow, by commenting below or on our Facebook page.