Have you ever wondered about the origins of Mother’s Day? It seems like something that has just always existed, but it has only been in existence for a little over 100 years.
Our family had a lovely Mother’s Day weekend. My wife prepared an excellent meal on Saturday, and we spent the day with my Mom and Dad along with friends. We got together on Mother’s Day with my Mom and Dad, and my sister and her daughter. After a tasty lunch at Papa’s Mexican Cafe, we took my Dad’s 1933 Plymouth to Janssen Park for a family photo shoot. It was a pretty day, and we enjoyed our time together.
Just how did Mother’s Day get started, and become the economic force that it is today? According to the website, Statistic Brain, Americans spent over 20 billion dollars this year to celebrate Mother’s Day.
When her mother died in 1905, Anna began a crusade to create a holiday to honor mothers. Because of her zealous letter writing and promotional campaigns across the country, Mother’s Day became an official U.S. holiday when Congress passed a bill authorizing it in 1914.
Within a few years, Mother’s Day became a very commercialized holiday. Jarvis became so upset by this that she eventually denounced the holiday and campaigned against it. She referred to the florists, greeting card manufacturers and the confectionery industry as “charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers and termites that would undermine with their greed one of the finest, noblest and truest movements and celebrations.”
As I was researching the story of Anna Jarvis, her situation reminded me of a passage in the Bible. We find the story in Matthew 15:1-3 (NIV) “Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, ‘Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!’ Jesus replied, ‘And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?’” He then went on to quote the prophet, Isaiah, when he told them, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’” Matthew 15:8,9 (NIV)
Gentle Reader, just like Anna Jarvis was displeased with the commercialization of Mother’s Day, God asks us to make sure that our worship of Him is in line with the information he has provided in the Bible. Let’s make sure that Jesus won’t say about us, “these people show honor to me with words, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is worthless. The things they teach are nothing but human rules.” Matthew 15:8,9 (NCV)