My Dad's New Job
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My Dad's New Job

I grew up as a PK (preacher’s kid). My dad became a pastor early in marriage and continued into full-time ministry for over 40 years. Over the last 15 years his focus has been with hospice care. I look back with fond memories on my dad’s transition from the pastorate to hospice care. Not because I didn’t like being a PK, but because of the training dad received.

As a pastor, my father put his all in shepherding his congregation. With that authority came a guard as well. He would call it the “skin of a rhinoceros.” Unintentionally, I think that thick skin stayed on at home too. So when he moved into a different kind of ministry, I slowly began to see that skin soften. With hospice care, dad had to allow himself to cry with his patients and their families.

I was in high school during that time. I now see my Heavenly Father’s hand in my relationship with my earthly Father. During this very influential season when some teenage girls rebel or have distant relationships with their parents, I remember having deep conversations with my dad. I recall us talking about my problems with friends and even boy issues. For the first time, I felt my dad was “accessible” as only dad without the additional title of pastor. I’m not saying it was a bad thing for him to have both titles. I think it comes with the territory of any clergyman that has a family. However, when my dad became a chaplain for hospice, it opened a door in our relationship that helped us connect more emotionally than before.

The transition from pastor to hospice care was just a stepping-stone to my dad’s new job. I see my dad’s ministry through the lenses of how God has grown him as a man, as a husband, and a father. God has been faithful to bring him through over 35 years of preaching. With this in mind, his new job can be summed up in one word: JOY! When my dad told me he was going to become a professional Santa Claus, it didn’t take long for me to back him 100%.

My parents were always realistic with us when it comes to Santa. They were deliberate in teaching me about the reality of Jesus and the make-believe of Santa. My parents would share with us the legend of St. Nickolas. On Christmas morning, the celebration began with the story of Christ.

Dad shared with me how becoming Santa was a platform to continue ministry. Today, his ministry is in the center of a mall where children line up to come sit on his lap. There he has about two minutes to share the hope of Christ with each child. The company he works for encourages just that! These are my dad’s words:
“People want to know why I’ve chosen to play the role of Santa when most think he is a secular image that really does not exist. Well that may be so, but what an opportunity to communicate the gospel, as did St. Nickolas some 1700 years ago when he wanted to share the wealth his parents left him in a Christ-like manner. St. Nickolas was a follower of Christ. So am I. And so, in my own humble way, I want to share the wealth of the Christmas spirit with those who will hear it. I have had a pulpit for 35 years as a pastor and a chaplain. Now my pulpit is a chair with kids sitting on my knee as their parents watch me tell them the real story of Christmas.”

The truth be told, when my husband and I started a family we chose to make very little of Santa and much of Jesus. Now that my children’s Poppa IS Santa Claus, you would think we would be at a conundrum. We are not! The spirit of love and generosity flows even more freely from my father to his grandchildren as he’s taken this new role. Our Heavenly Father longs for our joy to be complete in Him. I must say this is the most joyful I’ve seen my dad in my entire life. What a blessing! I’m not only a preacher’s kid, I’m a Santa’s kid!

My Dad's New Job / photo by Hope Wingate

2014 Copyright Hope Wingate

 

Join us daily as we celebrate Christmas with our annual 12 Days of Christmas series.

12 Days of Christmas 2014

 

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About Hope Wingate

My name is Hope Wingate. I live in Hoschton, GA with my brilliant husband, Jonathan and two incredible children: Aaron who is 7 and Adaira who is 4. I am a very enthusiastic stay-at-home mom and homeschooler. My heart beats for encouraging young mothers and I enjoy lead teaching classes for my local homeschool co-op. In my spare time I enjoy: sewing, rubber stamping, reading and watching BBC shows on Netflix.

Encouraged? Share this post...

Hope Wingate

My name is Hope Wingate. I live in Hoschton, GA with my brilliant husband, Jonathan and two incredible children: Aaron who is 7 and Adaira who is 4. I am a very enthusiastic stay-at-home mom and homeschooler. My heart beats for encouraging young mothers and I enjoy lead teaching classes for my local homeschool co-op. In my spare time I enjoy: sewing, rubber stamping, reading and watching BBC shows on Netflix.

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