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Scott Bayles, pastor
First Christian Church, Rosiclare, IL
Well, let me start out today by saying ďHappy Fatherís DayĒ to all of our Dads. One little boy, when asked to explain about Fatherís Day, said, ďItís just like Motherís Day, only you donít spend as much on the present.Ē
Thatís a joke, of course, but really, Fatherís Day never seems to be as big a deal as Motherís Day, does it? On Motherís Day there is a higher attendance at church, mothers often have corsages, emotions run high, and people gather at Momís houseóall to pay honor to the hands that rocked the cradle.
But on Fatherís Day the church is not as full, emotions are not as high, and businesses donít profit nearly as muchóall except for the telephone companies, that is. You see, phone companies report that Motherís Day is the busiest telephone day of the year. But Fatherís Day is a bigger money-maker for them, because there are more collect calls on Fatherís Day than on any other day of the year.
As you may or may not know, the very first national celebration of Fatherís Day was on June 19, 1924, by proclamation of President Calvin Coolidge. But it all came about because of the efforts of Sonora Smart Dodd.
Sonora was sitting in church in 1909 listening to a Motherís Day sermon when the idea of Fatherís Day first came to mind. Having been raised by her father after her motherís death, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her for all his parental sacrifices and for being, in her eyes, so courageous, selfless, and loving. To make a long story short, twenty-five years later, through her efforts President Coolidge designated the 3rd Sunday of June as ďFatherís Day.Ē And our nation has been celebrating it ever since.
Iím glad there is a Fatherís Day (not just because Iím a dad myself). Even though it may not be as significant or special as Motherís Day, it still gives us a chance to honor those who stand at the helm, who gather their team in a huddle, and who lead their family through lifeís battles. And, since my Motherís Day message last month focused on Mary the mother of Jesus, I thought it would only be appropriate for us to take a thoughtful look at Joseph, the step-father of Jesus, for Fatherís Day.
The cast of characters associated with the story of Jesusí birth is colorful and memorable. We often recognize them by their unique speaking parts. With dramatic words, the Angels take center stage to announce the birth of the Savior. They appear to Joseph to announce that the name of the child would be Jesus. The angel Gabriel makes the unforgettable announcement to Mary. And an angelic choir interrupts the shepherds, singing, ďGlory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward menĒ (Luke 2:14). Mary, whose divine selection humbles her, offers a beautiful hymn of praise and thankfulness in Luke 1:46-48. The wise men are desperate in their search to find the newborn King and prepared to present Him with gifts of honor and worship. The shepherds became early evangelistsótelling everyone they saw about the newborn Messiah.
Oddly enough, only Joseph has no speaking part. He is the lone silent member of the cast and often forgotten. Angels bring heavenly greetings. Mary sings a praiseful solo. Wise men worship. Shepherds preach. Joseph is silent. No notable lines are attributed to him. No sound bites.
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