Mother’s Day was first practiced in the United States by Julia Howe. In case you don’t recall her name from your history class, Julia was the writer of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. She suggested that a special day be dedicated to mothers and to peace. Miss Howe organized Mother’s Day meetings in Boston on an annual basis. Today around the globe, 46 countries honor mothers with a special day, just not on the same day as we do. We honor mothers with family reunions, cards, flowers and dinner out.
On Sunday, May 11, 1877, the pastor of a Methodist Church left the pulpit abruptly, being distraught over the behavior of his son. Mrs. Blakely stepped to the pulpit to take over the remainder of the service and called for other mothers to join her. Mrs. Blakely’s two sons were so touched by her gesture that they vowed to return to their hometown of Albion, Michigan every year to mark their mother’s birthday and to pay special tribute to her. In addition, the two brothers also urged business associates and those they met while traveling for business to honor their own mothers on the second Sunday of May. They also urged the Methodist Church in Albion to set aside the second Sunday of each May to honor all mothers.
While there were local celebrations honoring mothers in the late 1800’s, it was largely due to the efforts of Anna Jarvis that Mothers Day became a national holiday in the United States. Anna’s mother, Mrs. Anna M. Jarvis, had been instrumental in developing “Mothers Friendship Day” which was part of the healing process of the Civil War. In honor of her mother, Miss Jarvis wanted to set aside a day to honor all mothers.
In 1907, Miss Anna began a campaign to establish a national Mother’s Day. She persuaded her mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate Mother’s day on the second anniversary of her mother’s death, the 2nd Sunday of May. By the next year Mother’s Day was also celebrated in her own city of Philadelphia.
Miss Jarvis and her supporters began to write to godly ministers, evangelists, business owners, and politicians in their efforts to establish a national day for Mother’s. This effort was a success. By 1911, Mother’s Day was celebrated in almost every state in the Union. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made the official announcement proclaiming Mother’s Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the second Sunday of May. I’m not at all surprised that the history behind Mother’s Day has biblical roots!
Leviticus 19:3 “Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.”
The Bible says everyone is to honor his or her mother, and God is pleased when we take practical measures to fulfill this command.
Children of all ages should Love their Mother unconditionally. We are to care for Mom no matter how she carries out her responsibilities to her children. Some women will do better than others at living up to their God-given role. But all children are called to love their mother simply because the Lord has placed her in their lives.
Ephesians 6:1-3 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 â€œHonor your father and mother,â€ which is the first commandment with promise: 3 â€œthat it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
Godâ€™s commandment to honor parents included a promise. He told the Israelites, which is recorded in Exodus 20, to treat parents with respect so “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” This command did not guarantee that respecting authority would necessarily mean survival till a ripe old age. The word â€œlongâ€ is to imply productivity, strength, and satisfaction rather than many years.
That divine promise still applies to believers today. Sadly, our busy schedules place a priority of independence over obedience and childish opinion over the wisdom that comes with maturity. In todayâ€™s world, which is anti-God, we see children of all ages rebelling, but they often seem to escape discipline. As a Sunday school teacher, I witness this even among the children in my classroom. This has led to two dangerous attitudes. One says people donâ€™t need to accept responsibility for their actions. The other attitude permits neglecting of God’s will in favor of personal desires.
If we are to build a Christ centered community within a worldly culture, believers should instruct children to love God with all of their heart, soul and mind, honor their parents, and love their neighbor as themselves. One important way to teach this lesson is by modeling honor. Our families should see us treat our own parents with care and consideration. Honoring Mom and Dad is not a suggestion. The Lord has placed these important people in our life. Whether or not we feel they have served well in that capacity or not, weâ€™re to obey God by offering them care and respect.
So, be attentive to Momâ€™s needs. Starting very young, kids are accustomed to taking from their parents. So it can be easy to forget that Mom and Dad have needs as well. Stop and consider what your mother might appreciate today. For example, helping around the house, making sure she does no work. etc.
Live righteously. Proverbs 23 says the greatest gift we can give a godly mother is to surrender our life to Jesus Christ. Even a mom who isnâ€™t a Christian will no doubt take pride in a child who believes in God and whose life is filled with love, kindness, and charity.
And, pray for your mother today. Nothing is more important than prayer. Talking with the Lord about your Mother, both privately and in her presence, reminds her that she is important and loved. Remember, Motherâ€™s Day isnâ€™t the only time to show her your love and gratitude. Honor her every day.