Fatherhood is a glorious and sacred honor. Tough, difficult, and at times excruciating ... but gloriously sacred. The difference between a good father or lack thereof in a child's life can shape and change the outcome of generations to follow. Just take a look around our culture in the West, fatherhood is a waning and deconstructed dynamic in the midst of our evaporating familial culture, yet it is at the core and very heart of God, the Father.
Today my calendar is marked as Christmas Eve, the day before we celebrate and recognize the birth of Christ. Of course a lot could be said about the unlikely timing of Christ’s birth in December, or the consumerism and self-indulgent greed that has come to mark the holiday perhaps more than anything else ... but I won’t do that here.
Instead I want to discuss the nature of God being a father and giving birth to a son in our world. And while the Holy Trinity no doubt will remain a great mystery and wonder to all who believe for ages to come, the fact is that Jesus knew God as his Father (Jn 17:1-5), and God knew Jesus as his Son with whom he was well pleased (Mat 3:17).
Being a recent father myself for the last few years, I have been awakened to a great many things I was not privy to before. And while I could go into great detail about the extent and intensity of my love for my children, or the anxiety that can be caused by knowing that I can’t ultimately protect them from all harm because my power is very limited, or the way that a child’s laugh can change an entire room full of grumpy adults attitudes and dispositions in a moments notice, I won’t do so here.
Rather I wish to draw attention to God as a perfect Father. As a Father who does have ultimate power to execute his will, and yet chose to allow his son to be born in a manger in social scandal, to live a plain existence for most of his life only to be unjustly and brutally murdered for the wrong doing of humanity. For my wrong doing. This is a Father like I have never known. This is a Father so unlike me.
Whether you find yourself a father, a father-to-be, or perhaps just a man with a desire to one day be a father, know that this is a most holy and sacred calling (Mat 5:48). A calling which is not easy, but one that is so important. It is a sacred honor for us to be like our heavenly Father, to take up that self-sacrificing, loving, and merciful position in our family and society. Remember that our greatest contribution as dads is not the comfort, education, or wealth that we can offer our children, but it is our love and acceptance from which they can navigate confidently into the role and life that God calls them.
As we remember and celebrate the greatest Son that ever has lived this Christmas, let us also remember his Father, the greatest Father we can ever know, seeking to imitate him as fathers ourselves.