By Nelson Kidder (via Linda Carpenter and the Pickerington Church of Christ, adapted)

      A very happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers and grandmothers among us!

The history of Mother’s Day as a national holiday is attributed to Anna Jarvis. In 1908, Ms.   Jarvis held a memorial for her mother, Ann Jarvis, in Grafton, WV. Jarvis’s mom passed in 1905, and she began working to see that our nation would set aside a day to honor our mothers— “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world,” in Anna Jarvis’s words. The first state to officially declare a Mother’s Day holiday was WV (Jarvis’s home state) in 1910. In 1914, 100 years ago this year, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation creating Mother’s Day as a national holiday, to be celebrated on the second Sunday of each May.

In a “thank you” note to President Wilson, Anna Jarvis wrote of this as a way for our “country to honor their mothers and fathers in a way that will perpetuate family ties and give emphasis to true home life.” Sadly, it was not many years before commercialization of Mother’s Day had begun to such a degree that Jarvis protested publically and even started a petition to have the holiday   rescinded. She was saddened that Hallmark Greeting Cards, candy companies, and other businesses were detracting from the true meaning of honoring mothers as she had intended. Jarvis’ original intention was for children “to appreciate and honor your mother by writing a personal letter, by hand, expressing love and gratitude.”

Most of our nation’s holidays have little or nothing to do with God’s spiritual instructions for us, His children. But that is certainly NOT the case with Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Although these are not religious holidays or special spiritual days to New Testament Christians, the precepts embodied in Anna Jarvis’s original intentions for Mother’s Day are very biblical.

Exodus 20:12 (the 5th Commandment): “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.” Ephesians 6:2-3: “Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise, that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” King Lemuel in Proverbs 31 said of a virtuous wife, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” And Paul attributed Timothy’s standing as a fine Christian man to his godly mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5).

My mother and my grandmothers are not alive today for me to thank them with a personal letter or a phone call. But I thank my God for these wonderful Christian women, who taught me so much, and especially about God! “Thank you, Mom, for the wonderful Christian mother that you were. Your life lives on in your children, who still rise up and call you blessed.” I also thank God for my wonderful wife Reda, and the Mom to our three sons. (We have not always made her life a bed of roses. Sometimes, it’s been thorny.)

Abraham Lincoln once said, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” (Many of us can probably say, “AMEN” to that.) If your mom is still living, I pray that you will honor her today, and everyday, as God instructs and as Anna Jarvis recommended.


     Happy Mothers Day!


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