Today on Mother’s Day, we say “thank you” to all the women who so positively have impacted the world and our lives with their love, untiring work, unselfish giving and undivided devotion — not to mention carrying us to gestation and bearing the pain of bringing us into the world.
Most moms I’m aware of are so many things: tough and tender, wise and warm. A mother usually is all things to all her family all the time. That’s quite a job description, and most everyone who has watched their mother in action knows there’s no career more demanding or more endangered in today’s society. And just think about all those moms who not only maintain families but also work one or more jobs to support them. Single moms should get the admiration of all of us.
I was one of those fortunate baby boomers whose mom didn’t work — except at home, that is. Like many of our moms, she came from a long line of predecessors with a strong work ethic and a sound Christian background. She only had the formal education of a fifth-grader, but she was true to her German heritage with an uncanny ability to master whatever she wanted to do and, above all, with a polished perfection. But above her doctor-like skillsets in all facets of the domestic world were her extraordinary values of caring, kindness, sensitivity to others’ needs and faith values. Like most moms in history, she always had faith in all of us, and life always was about doing the right thing. There always was time for everyone — for the longest time I believed that she never slept!
It never ceases to amaze me that, even though we all disagreed with our parents during the years “we thought we knew it all,” many of us raise our own children with the same value system and idioms we were raised by. How wonderful it is to hear about and watch.
In this country, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May and recognizes mothers, motherhood and maternal bonds as well as the positive contributions they all make to our society. Most Mother’s Days worldwide have taken on the influence of our country and its traditions, including church going, the giving of carnations, gifts, poems, letters, cards, and family dinners with full sibling offertory domestic services.
The first Mother’s Day started as scattered meetings of groups of mothers to honor their sons who had fought in the Civil War. There were individuals in many parts of the country who tried to put together the early forms of “Mother’s Friendship Day” under the guises of many other causes, which included temperance and women’s rights. Then the Methodist Episcopal Church in Albion, Mich., became the first place to set aside the second Sunday in May to recognize the special contributions of mothers in the early 1880s.
In its present form, Mother’s Day was established by Anna Jarvis with the help of a Philadelphia merchant with its first ‘official’ service on May 10, 1908, in the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, W.V., accompanied by a much larger service in the Wanamaker Auditorium in Philadelphia. On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation declaring the first national Mother’s Day. Carnations have come to represent Mother’s Day since 500 were delivered at the first celebration in 1908. It also was promoted and made its way into popular church observances that each mother would be given a white carnation to identify a living mother and a red one to be worn by the children of a mother who was deceased.
And the commercialization of Mother’s Day is, as they say, history.
I encourage all of you to think about the examples of your mothers, their support, their humor, their counsel (even when we didn’t want it), their humility, hospitality, insight, patience, sacrifices, faith, hope and love. I have had the privilege to observe how many daughters want their mom to be there at the birth of their own child to start the journey to mature and know what their mom went through for them, that special bond and moment in life that defies all understanding and interpretation.
The fourth commandment tells us to honor our mothers and fathers. Throughout Scripture, we are reminded of the importance of maintaining respect and appreciation for mothers. Giving honor to those whom honor is due is a fundamental Christian value. I’m sure that many of us feel the same way about our moms. There aren’t enough words in our vocabulary to say all that should be said or honest actions to be reflected upon all mothers, both those living and those who have been sadly called home.
We know that Jesus is the light of the world. But through the years, mothers in most cases have beautifully reflected the light of Jesus in their countenances and in their lifetime of service and values to their families. However you all remember to celebrate and honor your mother today, may it be in grateful praise to God for His precious gift of life to you through her.
Make today special. Make every day special for her! Blessings to you and yours.
Scherer is a crisis intervention minister and the leader of the local Stephen Ministry.