It seems pretty common these days for people to take themselves a little too seriously. I know that I’ve been guilty of that tendency many times. Before meeting the woman that would become my wife, I wouldn’t even play board games! So much of an overemphasized need to be respected and feared seemed to fade as I watched my future bride interact with others. When I had the blessing of marrying her, my walls continued to fall. Those walls of pride were reduced to rubble when God blessed us with children.
God gave my wife and me two beautiful daughters and from the moment of their arrival, I’ve enjoyed playing with them wherever they wanted to play. If that meant rolling around with them on the floor, then the floor was where you could find me. If it meant letting them “cook” for me in their play kitchen I would gladly pretend to eat the feast they prepared.
A few years ago, around the Christmas season, my wife bought matching pajamas for all four of us… I thought to myself, “We may have crossed a line here…” These pajamas were far from cool. At least give me something with Star Wars or Batman like I had when I was a kid. Nope, my pants looked like candy canes and my shirt had a large white reindeer on a bright red background. I’m fairly certain that you could see these pajamas from space…
These glorious outfits didn’t come within view again until Christmas Eve. My wife, very thoughtfully, put together a new tradition for us. She planned for us to put on matching pajamas, pop some popcorn, and watch a favorite Christmas movie together before going to bed on Christmas Eve. When I realized that I’d be wearing those pajamas, my pride took a backseat to the excited look on my daughters faces. I put the outfit on, we popped popcorn, and watched a Christmas movie together. We still have this tradition and… I love it! So, what’s the point?
This season is a great opportunity for us as fathers to show that we can let loose and have fun. I’m reminded of old Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes 3:4 when discussing the different times and occasions in life. There is:
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
I apply the theme of this verse, and its surrounding context, to expect these different seasons as a part of life, but also that these times are appropriate. The mood and behavior that laughing and dancing represents reminds me of that evening with my girls watching a Christmas movie. Yes, times of weeping and mourning will come, but when God provides an opportunity to laugh, dance, sing, joke, play, and even wear silly pajamas, I think dads need to lead out in capitalizing on such opportunities.
I’ve heard stories over the years of children that never heard their father tell them that they were loved. Many men feel that they must keep up a tough demeanor. Look strong at all costs. Have it all together. Don’t show weakness. Don’t act like a child. While there may be remnants of truth buried far underneath some of those phrases, it’s important to understand that those commands don’t come from Scripture.
Dads, use this season to get on your kids’ level. When you see an opportunity to have fun with them this Christmas Season, take it. That may look like playing a video game with your teenager, or playing tea-party with your little girl. Whatever it may be, this month may be the perfect opportunity to show your family that you’re willing to have fun with them.