Father’s Day and My Birthday: A Doubly Lovely Day

On occasion the third Sunday in June, Father’s Day, coincides with my birthday, June 17, making it a “doubly lovely day.”

As Christian Spirituality Examiner for Columbus, Ohio, I recently posted an article regarding the history of Father’s Day and a listing of local places to celebrate this popular holiday, occurring the third Sunday in June. Click here to read that article. On certain occasions the third Sunday falls on June 17, which providentially is my birthday. This Sunday turns out to be a “doubly lovely day” for me.

Not too long ago I was thinking about Father’s Day and the challenge of coming up with a special gift year after year. As I thought about past years, I recalled something my father, who passed away in 1996, said to me one time when I ran out of ideas and asked if there were anything in particular that he wanted. His reply inspired this poem written on Father’s Day of 2003:

The Perfect Father’s Day Gift

There was a time when I would stretch my mind,

Make a list and try to think of the perfect gift,

As we approached Father’s Day, the third Sunday in June.

Now let me see what will it be?

I know . . . a portable radio. . .

What about a shirt—extra large—to fit?

Pajamas, house shoes, another Dopp kit?

Each year I would really try, as I resolved:

No more cologne—not another tie!

One year I ran out of ideas, and so I asked,

“Dad, what do you want for Father’s Day?”

He thought awhile and in his own quiet way,

He smiled and had this to say:

“Just between me and you,

Here’s what you can do.

Just keep me proud of you.

Son, just keep me proud of you.”

Now when my daughters ask,

What can they get me for Father’s Day?

I fondly remember, and I smile and say,

“The words of your Grandpa are still true.

As he said to me, so I say to you:

‘Just between me and you,

Here’s what you can do.

Just keep me proud of you.

Girls, just keep me proud of you.”

I also recalled the lyrics to one of the hymns sung so many times as child and as an adult, which seems most appropriate for this occasion, “Faith of Our Fathers.” The accompanying video offers a stirring rendition of  a medley of “Faith of Our Fathers,” “I Know Whom I Have Believed,” and “God of Our Fathers”: three familiar hymns apropos of Father’s Day.

 As believers we have a remarkable inheritance of faith, the “Faith of Our Fathers,” that has been passed down to us from countless generations, going back to Abraham, the father of faith, passed on to the mighty men of faith of the Old Testament, all the way through to Jesus Christ, for we have received the “faith of Jesus Christ.” Moreover, we are surrounded by the great cloud of witnesses spoken of in the New Testament and giants of faith who have lived beyond the First Century, as we are still inspired by the lives of great men of faith today. Men of faith inspire faith in others, as this original Father’s Day poem speaks of that priceless inheritance passed on:



Faithful and true heroes ever remain

And generate legacies we pass on

To each generation, father to son,

Heart to heart. The light of life left behind

Ever shines to brighten the path of truth,

Raised and then passed on from elder to youth.


Faithful and true heroes ever remain for all

Who hear the mandate and rise to answer God’s call.

Our lives of service are legacies we pass on

To the next generation, from father to son.

With the love of Christ in us, we tear down each wall.

We rally to support a brother should he fall.

Our ears have been pierced with the sharp tip of an awl:

A covenant of blood ever seals our union.

Faithful and true heroes ever remain.

Spiritual athletes excel beyond glove or ball.

They seek to bring out the best, as iron sharpens iron,            

Striving to finish strong and pass on the baton.

On the shoulders of our fathers we now stand tall

To view the future where greater victories are won.

Faithful and true heroes ever remain.

This particular Father’s Day may be a very difficult time for many families who have lost a father, as result of the War in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world where many of those who serve in the military have offered that last full measure of devotion and sacrificed their lives. Others may have suffered the loss of their fathers in other ways that are no less painful. I would like to close this entry with this reminder that God is our Father, a Father who is deeply touched by our grief. He is the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation,that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. Here is a wonderful reminder of God, our Father’s compassion, as in the accompanying video encourages us to “Trust His Heart.”                 

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