Posted by: pmarkrobb | June 13, 2012

our Father

In a few days we will rightfully recognize and celebrate the fathers in our lives. In my research on the origins of Fathers Day, I found a few interesting facts and one significant thread amongst it’s 104 year storyline. First, the facts…

  • The first recorded event to honor fathers was held in a West Virginia church on July 5th, 1908. It was a Sunday sermon in memory of 362 men who died the previous December in a coal mine explosion.
  • A Spokane, Washington woman was the first to attempt to establish an official day to celebrate fathers (anything that needs to get done should be so lucky to be championed by a woman).
  • In response, the Governor of the state of Washington was the first to proclaim the nation’s first “Father’s Day” on July 19, 1910.
  • Father’s Day became an official national holiday in 1972, via a Presidential proclamation signed by Richard Nixon.

As I read through a web post on the History Channel website, I noticed an interesting thread that ran through the full Father’s Day story line. Here are a few additional facts that illustrate the thread I noticed…

  • The Spokane woman who first championed the holiday went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials in trying to gather support.
  • The campaign to celebrate the nation’s fathers was not generally met with the same enthusiasm as that of Mother’s Day (established as a national holiday in 1908). A florist was quoted as saying “fathers haven’t the same sentimental appeal that mothers have.”
  • In the 1920’s and 1930’s there was a movement to combine Mother’s and Father’s Day into a singular Parent’s Day. There were actually protests towards that end in New York City during that time. Interestingly, the Great Depression broke that movement and effort to de-commercialize the holidays.
  • On the tail end of the Depression, struggling retailers and advertisers ramped up their efforts and sought to make Father’s Day into a “second Christmas” for men. In the 40’s, advertisers also used the war to argue for the importance of Father’s Day, honoring the troops and supporting the war effort.
  • Economists estimate that Americans spend more than $1 billion each year on Father’s Day gifts

I am sure that many of you have a sensitivity to the “Hallmark” holidays. I have caught myself once or twice questioning whether my wife would notice if I completely forgot Sweetest Day. We have a tendency as Americans to commercialize. And It was interesting, although not surprising to see that the economic engine “saved” Mother’s and Father’s day.

It is good, however, that our nation sets aside a day to honor mothers and fathers, and that we do so individually. It is biblical that we honor our mothers and fathers. Not just on one day of the year, but each and every day. It is the first commandment with a promise (Ephesians 6:2).

Let me also suggest that in preparation for this Father’s Day, you also consider honoring your Father in a purposeful and real way. How about practicing a genuine Sabbath? If your love language is gifts, give Him time with you; time in His word, talking with Him, just resting in His presence. We can be so conscious of keeping Christ in Christmas, but have we ever considered honoring our Father on Father’s Day? Join me in making it a new tradition. Spend time now considering what you will do Sunday. Set a reminder in your 2013 calendar for June 1st, and don’t miss it next year. Find a new way each year to honor and celebrate the One who breathed life into you, the One in whose image you were created.

Yes, we should honor Him in our everyday, and do so in the same spirit as obeying the first commandment with promise to honor our earthly fathers. But let’s make it a “both, and” sort of thing. Let’s also like the Old Testament feasts and festivals, take this one day and celebrate Him deliberately, joyfully and extravagantly.

An early Happy Father’s Day to all those men with children who are reading today, to their fathers, and our Father.


  1. “Honor and celebrate the One who breathed life into me. The One in whose image I am created.” You just helped me do that! 🙂



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