Food For Thought

Rev. Shirley D. Heermance



Just A Bit Of History


Mother's Day is a holiday honoring motherhood that is observed in different forms throughout the world.  The American incarnation of Mother's Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914.  Ann Jarvis conceived of Mother's Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children.

After gaining financial backing from a Philadelphia department store owner named John Wanamaker, in May 1908 she organized the first official Mother's Day celebration at a Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.  That same day also saw thousands of people attend a Mother's Day event at one of Wanamaker's retail stores in Philadelphia.

Its noted the concept of Mother's Day did not start with Jarvis.  The celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans.  The clearest modern precedent for Mother's Day is the early Christian festival known as "Mothering Sunday."  Once a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, this celebration fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was originally seen as a time when the faithful would return to their "mother church" - the main church in the vicinity of their home - for a special service.

Over time the Mothering Sunday tradition shifted into a more secular holiday, and children would present their mothers with flowers and other tokens of appreciation.  This custom eventually faded in popularity before merging with the American Mother's Day in the 1930s and 1940s.

The American version of Mother's Day has been criticized for having become too commercialized.  Founder Jarvis herself regretted this commercialism and expressed that this was never her intention.  When Mother's Day became commercialized with greeting card, flowers, and candy she specifically noted that each family should honor its own mother, and emphasized the holiday should be on sentiment, not profit.  Jarvis argued people should appreciate and honor their mothers in more personal ways, and not buying gifts and pre-made cards.

This Mother's Day, though you may have already purchased your gift and pre-made card, in the real spirit of Mother's Day, honor your Mother in personal ways so that she will know how much you personally love and appreciate her.







Isaiah 54:1-10 MSG

St. Luke 12:29-32