9 Days — Remembering Dad

I don’t know whether I think so much about my dad in December because Christmas was simply one of his favorite times of the year. Or whether it’s because he died in December. Twelve years ago today. Below is a post that I wrote on another site in 2005 (sorry for the repeat, Anna!)…which was a repeat of a letter that we had sent to supporters the year before…



“Nine years ago tomorrow, my Dad died. For many of us, he was a picture of compassion and humbleness, taking care of his family while still volunteering thousands of hours and donating thousands of dollars for civic, cultural and charitable causes that were close to his heart. His name? Harry Matthews. You don’t remember him?! You never heard of my dad?


For those of you old enough to remember The Donna Reed Show, one particular show featured Paul Petersen, the son of a busy pediatrician, practicing a special song to sing at a Father-Son banquet as a tribute to his father. Of course, it turns out that the dad is called away on a medical emergency, the son decides to perform the song anyway, and standing in the wings of the stage IS his dad who has hurried back to the auditorium just in time to see his son perform. The words of the song began with “He isn’t much in the eyes of the world. He’ll never make history. No, he isn’t much in the eyes of the world, but he is the world to me: My Dad. Now here is a man. To me, he is everything strong; no, he can’t do wrong: My Dad.” My sisters and I sang this song, and still do. I’ll admit we were a little naïve, but that was how we felt. And you say you didn’t know him?


At this time of year I am particularly thankful that I had my father in my life for so many years. And that he was a loving, caring parent, involving himself in all aspects of my life. Back in the day, I sometimes wished he weren’t so interested! He was there to challenge me, to encourage me, to discipline me, and to pick up the pieces when I failed. There was never any doubt whether he loved me or not.


Years later, I remember being in discussions with people about God and how difficult it was for them to believe that He is a loving Father, the One who loves you unconditionally. No one could be like that. I was so surprised at the number of people who did not have a father like I did. I knew that I had had many privileges growing up, but one of the greatest privileges of all was a father who cared. And I thank God that He gave me such a dad; it made trusting my Heavenly Father so much easier!


And I pray that this Christmas season, even if you were not blessed with an earthly father like mine, that you will recognize the unconditional love of your Heavenly Father. It’s too late to get to know my dad, but get to know my Father! And I pray that you will reflect on the birth of His perfect Son who was born to die so that you might have life eternal. And as Paul prayed for the Ephesians, I pray for you: “…that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”


To God be the glory, this Christmas season and forever!”