Father’s Day

By Weldon Tisdale, Chaplain

Psalm 68: 5 – “He is a father to the fatherless…” (Living Bible)

The campaign to celebrate the nation’s fathers did not meet with the same enthusiasm as the nation’s campaign to celebrate mothers – perhaps because, as one florist explained, “fathers haven’t the same sentimental appeal that mothers have.”

On July 5, 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the nation’s first event explicitly in honor of fathers, a Sunday sermon in memory of the 362 men who had died in the previous December’s explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah, WV, but it was a one-time commemoration and not an annual holiday.

The next year a Spokane, WA woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers, and government officials to drum up support for her idea, and she was successful: Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.

Slowly, the holiday spread. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson honored the day by using telegraph signals to unfurl a flag in Spokane when he pressed a button in Washington, D.C. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father’s Day.

In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed that the third Sunday in June would be officially known as Father’s Day, saying that we look to fathers to “provide the strength and stability which characterize the successful family.” In 1972, President Richard Nixon made the day a national holiday.

On this Father’s Day, June 16, 2024, our nation will pause to celebrate our fathers. But it might be difficult for some of you to celebrate because your father is no longer around. Or maybe your relationship with your father is broken, or not what you hoped it would be.

Even if you can’t celebrate with your earthly father on Father’s Day, you can still celebrate with your Heavenly Father. King David writes in Psalm 68:5 that God, our Heavenly Father, is “Father to
the fatherless…”

If you belong to God, then you have a great Father. And because you are His, you can never be called fatherless. The Lord even have you His name to wear. Wear it with pride. You are a treasured member of His family.

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