Suggestions for Dads This Christmas

“’Tis the season for Dad to drop the holiday ball, stress out as the money is being spent for presents, and miss yet another providential opportunity to lovingly lead his family.” So says Mark Driscoll, the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. To fight this negative tendency, he offers a list of suggestions for dads to take the proverbial Christmas bull by the horns:

Dad needs:

  1. a plan for the holidays to ensure his family is loved and memories are made. Dad, what’s your plan?
  2. to check the local guides for what’s going on to make fun holiday plans for the family. In Seattle it’s here.
  3. to carve out time for sacred events and experiences to build family traditions that are fun and point to Jesus. Dad, is your calendar ready for December?
  4. to not let the stress of the holidays, including money, cause him to be grumpy with Mom or the kids. Dad, how’s your joy?
  5. to give experiences and not just gifts. Dad, what special memories can you make this holiday season?
  6. to manage the extended family and friends during the holidays. Dad, who or what do you need to say “no” to?
  7. to ensure his family is giving generously during the holidays. Dad, who in need is your family going to adopt and bless?
  8. to schedule a big Christmas daddy date with his daughter. Dad, what’s your big plan for the fancy daddy date?
  9. to schedule guy time with his son. Dad, what are you and your son going to do that is active, outdoors, and fun?
  10. to help Mom get the house decorated. Dad, are you really a big help to Mom with getting things ready?
  11. to ensure some holiday smells and sounds. Dad, is Christmas music on the iPod, is the tree up, and can you smell cookies and cider in your house?
  12. to snuggle up and watch some fun shows with the kids, especially the little ones. Dad, is the DVR set?
  13. to take the family on a drive to see Christmas lights while listening to music and sipping cider. Dad, is it mapped out?
  14. to help Mom get the kids’ rooms decorated. Dad, do the little kids get lights or a small tree in their room?
  15. to read about Jesus and pray over his kids. Dad, how’s your pastoral work going with each of your kids?
  16. to repent of being lazy, selfish, grumpy, or just dumping the holidays on Mom. Dad, are you a servant like Jesus to your family?Okay, that last one isn’t convicting at all.

Besides that observation, let me add just a couple of thoughts. First, I doubt any of this happens if we just resolve to try harder. So my one addition to Driscoll’s list would be to pray for God to give you a heart that is joyful and willing to serve during the Christmas season. Secondly, if you’re like me, you read a list like this and immediately feel the weight of a very large pile pressing down upon you. So, remembering that Rome wasn’t built in a day, try to begin by picking out two or three items on the list and making them happen over the next several days. You’ll be glad you did, for the sake of both your family and the Savior we celebrate.

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