An article on Mother’s Day from the National Women’s History Project describes the women who inspired and founded Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis and her daughter, also an Anna. “The younger Anna Jarvis was only twelve years old in 1878 when she listened to her mother teach a Sunday school lesson on mothers in the Bible. ‘I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother’s day,’ the senior Jarvis said.’”
As an adult, the younger Jarvis doggedly championed the cause, and the first expression of her dream was a service on the second Sunday in May in 1907 held in the church in which her mother had taught. The movement multiplied through churches and was officially recognized by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914.
According to this History Channel video on the background of Mother’s Day, Jarvis’s vision was for families to spend a Sunday together, attending church and then expressing their love and appreciation to mothers with pen and paper. Like many other mainstays of our society, Mother’s Day’s roots were firmly planted in the church.
Jarvis was bitterly disappointed, however, when Mother’s Day became commercialized and ghost written greeting cards conveniently replaced personally penned sentiments. Commercialism co-opted what Christianity had created. (Perhaps that is a succinct history of our entire culture, but that is a subject for another day.)
Jarvis’s disappointment notwithstanding, we celebrate Mother’s Day annually on the second Sunday in May, but what’s to keep us from honoring our mothers on any or every day?
It doesn’t take much to make a mother’s day.
So, make your mother’s day on the second Sunday in May, or better yet, every day.
“‘Honor your father and mother’ – which is the first commandment with a promise – ‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’” Ephesians 6:2