Everyone celebrates Mother’s Day. Woe to any son or daughter who does not call – or better yet, visit - their mom on Mother’s Day! Mother’s Day celebrations have been around for over a hundred years. State celebrations of motherhood began in 1908, and by 1911 every state was observing the holiday.
Father’s Day was a lot harder to get started. Individual cities tried to get it going as early as 1910 but it would be decades before it really caught on. In 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a Father's Day proposal accusing the US Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, thus "singling out just one of our two parents." Amen.
In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972. By the mid-1980s, the Father's Day Council wrote, "Father's Day has become a Second Christmas for all the men's gift-oriented industries."
A second Christmas? It does not feel like Christmas to me. My wife gets so many flowers on Mother’s Day that our house looks and smells like a funeral home. But Father’s Day? Not so much. Not that I am complaining. I am allergic to most flowers. It used to be that I got my annual supply of new neckties on Father’s Day. But since retirement I wear ties only sparingly, so that gift idea has been sidelined.
Actually I don’t really want presents. I’ve got more than enough stuff. I do not need to attend a Father’s Day brunch or buffet at a local restaurant, if there are such things. I get phone calls, and I appreciate them. I also get greeting cards. Handmade ones from my grandkids are my favorites.
I do not need presents. I just feel blessed to have children and grandchildren who love me and whom I get to see on a regular basis. Their hugs are all the gifts I need. Coming to church with me on Father’s Day would be nice. There is nothing this old preacher loves more than to see a pew full of descendants on Sunday morning. To be honest, the smile on their mother’s face when we are all together in church is the best gift this old dad can get.
So let me suggest a gift idea for those of you wondering what to get your father for Father’s Day. I suggest that those of you with a living father go to church with him. If he normally doesn’t go to church, then bring him with you. It will do him good to have his kids honor him in this public way.
But don’t make him dress up. Blue jeans are fine. That is what I normally wear to worship these days when I am not preaching! Then maybe take him to that Father’s Day buffet after all. The way to a man’s heart is still through his stomach.