Pastor Ross Helgeton Faith and Reflection
A friend of mine told me recently that the nation in which he was raised does not celebrate Mother’s Day. Hmmm… Undeniably, our calendars are getting terribly cluttered with this day and that day. The first Thursday in May is now considered to be “World Password Day!” Nevertheless, I am glad that the second Sunday of May is set aside so that we can honor, celebrate and/or commemorate our mothers.
Mother’s Day has deep roots. It can be traced back to ancient Greece where celebrations were held each spring in honor of Rhea, who according to Greek mythology was the mother of gods.
In the 17th century, “Mothering Sunday” began to be celebrated in Great Britain. The event took place on Sunday and simultaneously celebrated spring. On that day servants were allowed the entire day off so that they could visit their mothers.
In the United States, Julia Ward Howe, who also wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” initiated Mother’s Day in 1872. There were numerous steps in between, but the assignment of the second Sunday of May came into effect in 1907 as Ana Jarvis from Philadelphia campaigned to have Mother’s Day entrenched as a national celebration. Jarvis lobbied for the second Sunday in May because that is the day that her mother had died. Apparently it stuck, for several countries including Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, Belgium and our own nation of Canada, celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May.
My memories of my own mother, while I recognize that she was not perfect, are essentially positive and pleasant. One of my favorite memories highlights the sacrificial nature of mothers. Our family had made our annual trip to the city for Christmas shopping, a typically chaotic, but enjoyable expedition.
On the way home my mother was wearing a new coat that dad had purchased for her over and above any Christmas gifts that she would receive later. It had cost $40, equivalent to about $350 today. Mom said that it was too expensive and should be returned. Dad, with a self-satisfied smile, told her that she was worth it. That day, in addition to witnessing the sacrificial nature of mothers, I detected and appreciated a warmth and closeness between my hard-working practical parents (they had eight children together, so I suppose I should never have doubted).
Mother’s Day is not mentioned in the Bible, however, the Scriptures are replete with accounts of mothers exhibiting remarkable virtue and faithfulness. For example, Jochebed, Moses’ mother, whose civil disobedience and loving sacrifice ultimately aided in the delivery of a nation. Other names come to mind like Naomi, Deborah, Esther, Hannah and of course Mary who gave birth to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
Let me close with a quote from the book of Proverbs. “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who reveres the Lord will be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).
And moms…Happy Mother’s Day – You are worth it.
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