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.
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
About Daniel Darling
Daniel Darling is the Senior Pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and is the author of several books, including his latest, iFaith. His work has been featured in evangelical publications such as Relevant Magazine, Focus on the Family, Marriage Partnership, Pray!, Relevant, 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 has been profiled by The Chicago Tribune. Daniel is a contributing writer to Zondervan’s Couples Devotional Bible. Publisher’s Weekly called his writing style “substantive and punchy.” Dan is a contributing writer to Christian Today‘s online magazine, Kyria as well as Lifeway’s men’s devotional, Stand Firm. He also maintains a blog at patheos.com, entitled, The Friday Five, where he interviews leading evangelicals. Dan’s columns appear weekly at Crosswalk.com and monthly for the local Lake County Journals. Dan has been interviewed on TV and radio outlets across the country, including Moody Broadcasting Network, Harvest Television, The Sandy Rios Show, American Family Radio, the Salem Radio Network, and a host of drive time radio stations across the country. Daniel has a bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry from Dayspring Bible College. He traveled extensively to India and the Middle East. He and his wife, Angela, have three daughters and a son and reside in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.
Recently by Daniel Darling
Recently on Crosswalk Blogs
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content