January 6th has special meaning in many countries as the celebration of 3 Kings Day to remember the 3 wise men coming to visit the baby Jesus bringing gifts to worship him. However, January 6th has a different meaning for me. It is the day of my father’s birthday.
He passed away in April 2009 and I was with him when he died reading from 1 Corinthians 15 about the resurrection of Jesus. Ours was a complicated father son relationship. He was an alcoholic who was at times abusive and most of the time withdrawn and unavailable emotionally. It was determined in his last year on earth that he had clinical depression, so I think he self medicated. He had been sober for about 30 years when he died. I wrote last year about how forgiveness from me led to my father receiving forgiveness from God. You can read that by clicking on- forgiveness from me.
For anyone who has problems with their relationship with their father, it can make it more difficult to embrace that God is a loving heavenly father.
And yet that is exactly who God is, a loving heavenly father. If we read through the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we see that Jesus called God father and not only in reference to God being his father. Jesus called God, “You father in heaven” as he spoke to those following him. Jesus used the possessive your father teaching about relationship with God. When his followers asked Jesus to teach how to pray, the example Jesus gave as a model of prayer that we call the Lord’s prayer begins with:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,”
Jesus taught that our heavenly father knows what we need before we ask showing God’s concern for us. He taught that we are valuable and precious to God. He taught us that God loves us many times including the famous John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Paul wrote in Romans 8 that we can call God Abba which for us means that God is a deeply caring father:
“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
God does not want his children living in fear of him in the sense of being scared of him, respect yes, scared no. He wants us to come to him, receive forgiveness, and live in a father child relationship with him.
God is patient and knows our weaknesses and hurts. If it takes time for us to be able to embrace him as father because of past abuse or neglect by our earthly fathers, God will patiently bring healing into our lives.
God is a loving heavenly father. Because of that, I was able to forgive my earthly father and am able to say today, Happy Birthday in heaven to my earthly father.
Thank you for reading. God Bless.