It is the fourth-biggest holiday for spending, according to CNBC. It is the third-largest card-sending holiday, according to Hallmark, with America’s moms receiving more than 133 million cards.
It’s the biggest phone-calling day of the year, according to History.com, with call volume spiking by as much as 37 percent. And it’s the biggest holiday of the year for dining out, according to the National Restaurant Association.
What most of us are unaware of is the Christian origin of Mother’s Day. It wasn’t about obligatory Mother’s Day presents or perfunctory Mother’s Day greeting cards or dutiful Mother’s Day phone calls or orgiastic Mother’s Day brunches.
Those are a secularist outgrowths of what was centuries ago a truly holy-day.
It was called Mothering Sunday. It was the one day each year when the faithful would return to their “mother” church in the village or hamlet in which they were born and raised; where their ears first heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached.
Mothering Sunday eventually became an occasion for family reunion; when those who had moved away for work or other reason, who had started families of their own, who had found a place of worship (a “daughter” church) in their adapted village or hamlet, would reconnect with their loved ones.
Mother’s Day here in America is different from Mothering Sunday but shares two things in common: Its Christian origin and its family orientation.
Indeed, the first Mother’s Day celebration in this country was held in 1908 at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. It was organized by Anna Jarvis, a woman of faith, who sought to honor the sacrifice the nation’s mothers made for their children.
Because of the purpose-driven Christian woman’s tireless campaigning, President Woodrow Wilson in 1914 proclaimed Mother’s Day a national holiday.
Alas, it took only a few short years for Jarvis to become disillusioned with Mother’s Day. That’s because the holiday that began in her West Virginia Methodist church had been hijacked by secularist moneychangers who worshipped at the altar of Mammon.
Jarvis actually undertook a campaign against the holiday she did much to establish, urging Americans to stop buying Mother’s Day cards, flowers and candy. By the time she went to be with the Lord in 1948, she had actually disowned Mother’s Day, going so far as to seek rescission of its designation as a national holiday.
As the nation celebrates the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day, it’s time for the Christian faithful to reclaim the holiday as our own.
Let us honor our Christian mothers for bringing us into the world, for taking care of us when we couldn’t take care of ourselves and, most of all, for starting us out in our walk with God.