Mother’s Day May 11, 2008

If God has given you the blessing of being a mom, He has given you the promise that you will not be alone in doing it. You are the everyday hero, and He is the divine power that will give you everything you need the moment you need it. May His grace, peace, and love surround you this Mother’s Day, making all Mom’s feel as special and exceptional as they truly are.

Despite popular belief, Mother’s Day is not just a holiday invented by Hallmark, but rather it is a holiday dating back several millennia. The earliest known Mother’s Day originated in Ancient Greece honoring Rhea, mother of all deities, in an annual spring festival. The Romans honored Cybele, the same mother of all deities, and celebrated this festival by calling it the “Hilaria.” Early Christians continued the tradition by celebrating the Virgin Mary, on the fourth Sunday of Lent. In England, the celebration eventually expanded to include all mothers.

Mother’s Day was not an official holiday in the United States until 1914. Modern Americans can thank the perseverance and determination of a woman named Anna Jarvis who, deeply devoted to her own mother, helped to make Mother’s Day an official U.S. holiday.

Jarvis’s mother, Anna Maria Reeves Jarvis, was an activist during the Civil War and lost 8 of her 12 children before they reached adulthood. When she died in 1905, Anna (daughter) was distraught and vowed to devote her life to honoring her mother. Her devotion led her to strive to appoint an official U.S. holiday to recognize mothers. Though Mother’s Day had been celebrated informally for many years, Jarvis wrote many important figures (including U.S. congressmen and prosperous businessmen), imploring them to back Mother’s Day as an official holiday.

Anna’s efforts finally paid off. In 1910, the governor of West Virginia declared Mother’s Day a state holiday on the second Sunday in May. The following year, every other state followed suit. By 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill declaring Mother’s Day a Federal Holiday.

At first, celebrations of Mother’s Day were relatively private, but gradually though, Mother’s Day has flourished into a significant and memorable occasion where many people express their love for their mothers through thoughtful gifts and quality time with family.

“I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of people will come from her.” Genesis 17:16 (NIV)

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