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Daniel Darling Christian Blog and Commentary

Dads Should Lead on Thanksgiving

  • Daniel Darling
    Daniel Darling is the Vice President for Communications for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (ERLC). For five years, Dan served as Senior Pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and is the author of several books, including Teen People of the Bible, Crash Course, iFaith, Real, and his latest, Activist Faith. He is a weekly contributor to Out of Ur, the blog of Leadership Journal. His work has been featured in evangelical publications such as Relevant Magazine, Homelife, Focus on the Family, Marriage Partnership, In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley. He has guest-posted on leading blogs such as Michael Hyatt, The Gospel Coalition, OnFaith (Washington Post), and others. He is a contributing writer for many publications including Stand Firm, Enrichment Journal and others. Dan’s op-eds have appeared in Washington Posts’ On Faith, CNN.com's Belief Blog, and other newspapers and opinion sites. He is a featured blogger for Crosswalk.com, Churchleaders.com and Believe.com, Covenant Eyes, G92, and others. Publisher's Weekly called his writing style "substantive and punchy." Dan is a sought-after speaker and has been interviewed on TV and radio outlets across the country, including CNN, 100 Huntley Street, Moody Broadcasting Network, Harvest Television, The Sandy Rios Show, American Family Radio, the Salem Radio Network, and a host of other local and national Christian media. He holds a bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry from Dayspring Bible College and is pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He and his wife Angela have four children and reside in the Nashville area. Daniel is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Literary Agency
  • 2011 Nov 21
  • Comments

In the last few years, the Thanksgiving holiday has slowly been redefined by overeating, cranky in-laws, lots of NFL football, and early Christmas sales. Now, I enjoy all of those things (yes, even the cranky in-laws). But if we are not careful, we can allow a grand moment for worship and thanks to pass us by as we're grabbing for the remote and more pumpkin pie. This is where I think dads can lead their families with a bit of courage and a lot of creativity.

As the spiritual leader in the home, dads have a job to set the tone. I'm not saying we need a five-hour sermon series on the finer points of thankfulness and the history of Squanto, but at times in the Thanksgiving holiday, Dad needs to make some right turns and steer the family toward some expressions of gratitude. This could be a throat-clearing moment at dinner when Dad puts down the turkey leg and says, "Okay, I would like everyone to go around the table and express thankfulness for some blessings they received this year." You might even plan ahead and bring your Bible to the table and read from Habakkuk 3 or 1 Thessalonians 5:18. If you own a hymnal you might crack it open to a hymn like "Come Ye Thankful People, Come," "We Gather Together" or "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow." You can also Google those hymns and print them out to read.

This might take a bit of foresight, but I think it's important for a dad to set a tone of warmth, thanksgiving, and gratitude on Thanksgiving. Especially since dads typically approach this holiday with a bit of a sense of indulgence: Overeating, lots of football, and unwillingness to engage family. We tend to allow the ladies to serve us and offer little in the way of spiritual leadership.

I'm not saying watching football is bad on Thanksgiving. I plan on watching plenty of NFL. And I love to eat turkey and all the trimmings. However, with a little effort, dads can lead the way to recovering the original intent of the holiday.