In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed Public Resolution 25 which established the 2nd Sunday of May as Mother's Day forevermore. The story behind this day being set aside to honor our mothers is one that I found very interesting. I hope you will also.
Mother's Day owes its existence to a woman named Anna May Jarvis, who was born May 1, 1864, the daughter of a minister. When Anna was 42 years old and working for an insurance company in Philadelphia, her mother passed away with her death occurring on the 2nd Sunday of May, 1906.
Following her mother's death, Anna became obsessed with the desire of seeing her mother, and motherhood in general, honored annually throughout the world. It started slowly, with the first celebration being a church service where her mother had been a Sunday school teacher. This inaugural occasion was on May 10, 1908, in Grafton, West Virginia.
Three years later, the state of West Virginia made Mother's Day a statewide observance. Then in 1914, President Wilson signed the resolution making it a nationwide observance. You would have thought that Anna would have been very happy to see her dream fulfilled, but in one way she wasn't.
She was now fifty years old and she quit her job with the insurance company in order to devote full time opposition to the commercialization of Mother's Day. Wherever she could speak out and have an influence against the profiteering by merchants as Mother's Day approached, she did so. She would go so far as to appear at florist's conventions and express her feelings about their promoting Mother's Day for a profit. She devoted the last 34 years of her life to this cause. How do you think she'd feel about the efforts at profiteering by the merchants of today?
Finally, she became too old and feeble to carry on her battle against the commercialization of Mother's Day. She was placed in a sanitarium in West Chester, PA, where she was blind, deaf and penniless. She passed away there in 1948 at the age of 84 years.
Because of her efforts, the nation set aside one day of the year in honor of all mothers. It honored her mother, who had died on the 2nd Sunday of May, by that day being the one established for all mothers to be honored. There's an irony to this story in that Anna May Jarvis, whose efforts brought this day into being, would never be honored by it, as she was never married and was never a mother.
In reality, we should honor our mothers every day of the year and not just the one that an act of government set aside. Many of our mothers are no longer with us here, but spiritually they are and we honor their memory.
Yes, mothers are deserving of being honored at all times. I think that we men sometimes get to thinking about how important our jobs are and what great service we render to mankind, but in all honesty, a mother not only has the greatest job, but just about in all cases, bears the hardest burdens.
You see, mothers have a tremendous responsibility. Prov. 22:6 says "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." With very rare and scattered exceptions noted, who does the burden of raising children fall upon? The mothers, of course.
A writer/philosopher of the 1800's by the name of Walter S. Lander once truly said, "children are what the mothers are." Could this help explain why our society seems to be in such a mess nowadays? How are the children being raised?
Another man once said that "the mother's face and voice is the first conscious objects that an infant soul is aware of and that she stands in the place of God to the child." Prov. 1:8 tells us to "not forsake the law of thy mother" and Lev. 19:3 commanded that all men "respect (fear)" their mother. I'm here to tell you, that my mother commanded great fear and respect, especially when she was armed with a peach tree switch.
Dorothy Canfield Fisher once said, "A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary." It's no secret that a mother goes through many trials and tribulations in raising children to be responsible adults. But, no matter how many trials and tribulations child-rearing brings, real mothers wouldn't trade motherhood for anything else. Maybe Mark Twain was close to being right when he said, "My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it."
In our lifetimes, many a mother's child has gone off to war and faced terrible situations, but probably the worst situations were faced by the mothers who could only stand by, watching and waiting, while their children went into deadly conflicts. A poet by the name of Joaquin Miller wrote a poem entitled The Bravest Battle. One stanza goes like this:
The bravest battle that was ever fought;
Shall I tell you where and when?
On the maps of the world you will find it not;
It was fought by the mothers of men.
In John 19:25 we find 10 words that speak volumes. It is written so simply, yet I don't think that we can fully comprehend all of what must have been besetting Mary's soul on this occasion. Perhaps a mother can come the closest to understanding. Notice these words; "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother."
Jesus's last instruction to a disciple, prior to his death, was regarding the care of his mother. In John 19:26-27 we see Jesus saying to his mother to behold John as her son and for John to behold Mary as his mother. It goes on to say that from that day forward, she lived in his home as if she was his mother.
And lastly, this thought. When troubles beset us and things just don't seem to go right. When the world seems to close in on us and it seems that our enemies are about to overwhelm us, we have the words of Isaiah to tell us how the Lord cares for us. Note what he uses as an example of God's care in Isa. 66:13. "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem."