Have you ever wondered how the holiday we celebrate as Mother’s Day got started? Is it a religious holiday based on some Biblical truth or is it just something invented by greeting card company’s to increase sales? Before we try to answer those questions we must all realize this very important fact. Every person that has ever been born had a mother, including Jesus Himself. With that said let’s take a look at a very short version of the history of the holiday as provided by Wikipedia in the following paragraphs.
The modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. St Andrew’s Methodist Church now holds the International Mother’s Day Shrine. Her campaign to make Mother’s Day a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War, and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers because she believed a mother is “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”.
In 1908, the U.S. Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother’s Day an official holiday, joking that they would also have to proclaim a “Mother-in-law’s Day”. However, owing to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, by 1911 all U.S. states observed the holiday, with some of them officially recognizing Mother’s Day as a local holiday (the first being West Virginia, Jarvis’ home state, in 1910). In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.
Although Jarvis was successful in founding Mother’s Day, she became resentful of the commercialization of the holiday. By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies had started selling Mother’s Day cards. Jarvis believed that the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother’s Day, and that the emphasis of the holiday was on sentiment, not profit. As a result, she organized boycotts of Mother’s Day, and threatened to issue lawsuits against the companies involved. Jarvis argued that people should appreciate and honor their mothers through handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude, instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards. Jarvis protested at a candy makers’ convention in Philadelphia in 1923, and at a meeting of American War Mothers in 1925. By this time, carnations had become associated with Mother’s Day, and the selling of carnations by the American War Mothers to raise money angered Jarvis, who was arrested for disturbing the peace.
For a more detailed history of the Mother’s Day holiday the link at the end of the post will take you to a great article that goes all the way back to the eighteen hundreds where mother’s were beginning to be honored even then.
Now that we have somewhat of an idea how Mother’s Day begin and why, I want to challenge each of us to think about what impact our mother’s may have had on our lives. And, in the case of those whose mothers remain with us, what impact they are still having on their children. So, as you are thinking about yours, let me tell you about mine.
My mother was a wonderful woman and a great mother. I can never remember a time as a child or teenager when I didn’t feel loved. I never felt unwanted, just the opposite. I always loved the fact that she was there waiting when I came home from school and most of the time supper was ready or very close to it. We ate at the table as a family. No eating on the couch and watching TV because we didn’t have one. She was at every activity I was involved in and it was the same for all of my siblings. She supported everything we did and always thought we were the best one. Although as a young woman she encountered a number of health issues that would have stopped most people dead in their tracks, but not her. She showed great courage during those times that would serve her well down the road. I am describing these things that were important to me in some detail because they laid a foundation for how we as kids would handle the family tragedy that would come our way a short time later.
As a young man of 37 years my dad died from injuries he suffered when an automobile fell on him as he was working underneath it. My mother was left with three young teenagers still at home and one recently married and with a child of her own. Because my mother had always been a stay-at home mom, she didn’t know anything about working outside the home or even how to go about getting a job. This sent her into a tail spin that lasted a few years but because of her courage she finally overcame the terrible situation she found herself in. She worked hard and eventually became a proud and self-supporting individual. And she was able to do so until she reached an age that she could no longer physically function like she needed to but still managed to live by herself and take care of herself. Even though her last days on earth were quite painful due to health problems her mind remained very alert. Her courage up to her last breath remains quite an example for me and I pray that my children and grandchildren will be able to say the same thing about me someday.
My mother was a loving and caring mother, full of life and full of courage. I thank God for her life and the impact she had on mine. Thank you Lord for sharing her with me and I know she and my dad are in your presence praising you like they did so many times when they were here. I also believe You and they are waiting for us to come home.
I sincerely hope you have wonderful memories of your mother and that her impact on your life has helped bring you to where you are today.
**Link for article Mother’s Day Celebrated