One of my favorite movies is “Field of Dreams”. Ray Consella, Kevin Costner’s character is reunited with his dad on the ballfield he was driven to build. In the last scene after talking a bit, the dad turns to leave but Ray says, “Hey Dad, want to have a catch?” His dad responded, “Yeah. I’d like that.” At that moment, there was a reconnection of what had been disconnected years earlier, the healthy relationship between a father and son.
The activity varies – having a catch, hitting a tennis ball, going hunting, playing chess or hiking in the wilderness. The metaphor is of relationship that endures. Too often a wedge can get driven between a father and child. Divorce is certainly at the top of the list but differing interests & talents, demands on time and job requirements can also impede consistency needed to nurture healthy relationship. It takes intentionality to stay engaged and “Play Catch” with our kids.
For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands. – Exodus 20:5b-6. The commands are to love God with all your heart, mind and soul; Honor your father and your mother; and love your neighbor as yourself. This is the relationship our Father calls us to through His Son Jesus the Christ. Jesus’ birth is celebrated in a couple of weeks and it serves as a powerful reminder of the intentionality exemplified by the Father to stay connected in relationship with us. One of dad’s roles over the holidays is to play spiritual catch with his kids by reading and discussing scriptural accounts of the Christ-child’s birth. As he does his kids will catch a love that lasts a thousand generations.
For many there is a void in relationship with their father. If this is you, I encourage reaching out to an older dad in the church that could be a spiritual father to talk with. Christmas provides a beautiful opportunity to fill voids that exist physically, emotionally or spiritually. As the Light of the Father flows through the Son, we can embrace the Spirit of sonship and cry out, “Abba, Father!” (Rom.8:15). Christmas is the beginning of the story that is all about the Father’s relationship with His children.
Prayer guide: My Father, thank You for Your Son. And thank You for the opportunity to be a dad. I confess I have let Christmas become more about stuff than about the relationship You have opened the door to. Forgive me for dropping the ball spiritually. From Zechariah and Elizabeth to Mary and Joseph to the birth of Jesus, I will share the true story of Christmas with my family over the holidays. I pray the kids You entrust to me catch my relationship with Jesus the Christ and enjoy the love I have for them across a thousand generations. Amen.
A faithful father plays spiritual catch with his kids over Christmas and beyond.