By R. W. McAlister
Father’s Day, contrary to popular misconception (and my wife’s fervent belief!), was not established as a holiday in order to help greeting card manufacturers sell more cards. In fact when a “father’s day” was first proposed, there were no Father’s Day cards! Mrs. John B. Dodd, of Washington, first proposed the idea of a “father’s day” in 1909. Mrs. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart. William Smart, a Civil War veteran, was widowed when his wife (Mrs. Dodd’s mother) died in childbirth with their sixth child. Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state. It was after Mrs. Dodd became an adult that she realized the strength and selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent.
The first Father’s Day was observed on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington. At about the same time in various towns and cities across America, other people were beginning to celebrate a “father’s day.” In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father’s Day. Finally in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father’s Day.
As we celebrate our earthly fathers on the day set aside for honoring them, let’s also remember to honor our Heavenly Father. Furthermore, let’s realize that we have a duty to honor Him not just one day out of the year, but every day we can awake to a new morning.
Much like William Smart, God has provided for and continues to provide for His numerous children - but in ways that far surpass those of mortal man. God loved sinful man so much that He gave us His only Son to pay the price for our sins (Romans 5:8). Do we show our appreciation to Him for that? Does God know that we love and revere Him? Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15) and again, “Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
Honor your Heavenly Father every day for all of the good in your life, because our blessings are surely too great in number to count. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Even when we face our darkest hour, when our lot in life seems to be as terrible as Job’s, God is still there for us – just waiting for us to make our hearts known to Him (I Sam. 1:15; Heb. 4:16; Jas. 5:16). Honor God by doing His will and by continually thanking Him for all the blessings that are showered down upon us all.
I wish all fathers a happy Father’s Day and pray that we all will make every day a “Father’s Day” in honor of our Heavenly Father, the God of Heaven from whom all blessings flow.
- R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL.He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.annachurchofchrist.com/