Father's Day, contrary to popular misconception, 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 in America there were no Father's Day cards!
Now, depending on who you believe, the first Fathers Day was either in 1908 or 1910. Here are two of the most commonly accepted stories:
Mrs. John 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. Mr. Smart, a Civil War veteran, was widowed when his wife (Mrs. Dodd's mother) died in childbirth with their sixth child. 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. So supposedly the first Father's Day was observed on June 19, 1910 in Spokane Washington.
A second origin cited is slightly less known -- the Methodist church in Fairmont WV has a sign declaring the "First Father's Day July 5, 1908", beating the Dodd claim. That date was six months after the huge coal mine disaster of December 6, 1907, which killed at least 361 men the largest mine disaster in American history.
Regardless, early in the last century Americans were beginning to celebrate a "father's day." In 1924 President Coolidge gave support to the idea of a national Father's Day. In 1966 President Johnson signed a proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day.
Strangely, it has become a day to not only honor your father, but all men who act as a father figure. These days stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, and adult male friends are sometimes also honored on Father's Day. Perversely, well, even today's Washington Post Sunday magazine chose today to honor an even different kind of fatherhood.
But really, doesnt Fathers Day go back to creation? When our triune God said let us make man in our own image?
The Bible calls fathers to: love, command, instruct, guide and warn, train, rebuke, restrain, punish, chasten, nourish, supple the needs of, and to do not provoke their children. Hasnt our heavenly Father been perfect in those respects!
Like Mrs. Dodd, maybe we dont realize the strength and selflessness of our fathers, and of our Father, until we get the perspective of adulthood.
So children, honor your earthly father, as was commanded by God to Moses and the Israelites. And congregation, lets honor God our Father now, with our tithes and offerings.
Father, our gifts are small, especially compared to your love. We were created by Your will, and not by our own. Thanks Abba daddy for loving us so much. Amen.
Thank you. Very good.