Mother's Day began nearly 150 years ago in the United States, when Anna Jarvis, a homemaker from Appalachia, organized a day (Mother's Work Day) to raise awareness of something mothers hold near and dear to them: poor health conditions in her community.
Fifteen years later, Julia Ward Howe organized a day encouraging mothers to rally for peace, since she believed they bore the loss of human life more harshly than anyone else. Julia was a Boston poet, pacifist, suffragist, and author of the lyrics to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic,
When Anna Jarvis died in 1905, her daughter, also named Anna, began a campaign to memorialize the life work of her mother. Legend has it that young Anna remembered a Sunday school lesson that her mother gave in which she said, "I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother's day. There are many days for men, but none for mothers."
Anna began to lobby politicians including Presidents Taft and Roosevelt to support her campaign to create a special day to honor mothers. In 1913 the House of Representatives adopted a resolution calling for officials of the federal government to wear white carnations on Mother's Day. In 1914 Anna's hard work paid off when Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognizing Mother's Day as a national holiday.
Mother's Day was first observed by attending church, writing letters to their mothers, and eventually by sending cards, presents, and flowers. With the increasing gift-giving activity associated with Mother's Day, Anna Jarvis became enraged. She believed greed and profit was overtaking the original intent of the holiday. Before her death in 1948, Jarvis is said to have confessed that she regretted ever starting the mother's day tradition.
However, the holiday of Mother's Day has flourished in the United States. The second Sunday of May has become the most popular day of the year to celebrate and show appreciation to their mothers. Telephone calls, cards, and flowers break all records for Mother's Day.
In Exodus 2 we are introduced to Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, born to him in Egypt. She was the wife of Amram and was the mother of Aaron, Miriam and Moses. Her courage and ingenuity saved her son Moses from the wicked mandate of Pharaoh to kill every male Israelite child. She cleverly hid him for three months, before placing him among the reeds in a water-tight basket along the Nile River.
As she watched Miriam approach Pharaoh’s daughter, she must have been relieved to hear that she would be nursing and weaning the child herself before handing him over permanently. Those few early years were no doubt full of Godly teaching and a loving example to that little Hebrew child. Can you imagine the pain and sacrifice she endured as she watched her young son disappear into Pharaoh’s exotic palace to be raised as an Egyptian?
I believe Jochebed was an important part of Moses’ life as a young child and into the reaches of adulthood. She no doubt had an influence on his character, integrity and love for the Lord God of Israel. She also raised Miriam (the eldest) and their brother Aaron, who appeared with Moses in front of the great Pharaoh of Egypt prior to releasing the children of Israel. Were her children perfect? No way. They all displayed major character flaws. All were reprimanded and punished by God for their disobedience. However, all three witnessed God’s Sovereign power, deliverance and blessing in their lives and in their future destinies.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” We must teach by example and pray for their spiritual growth. We are to “watch over the ways of our household, and not remain idle” – but stay balanced as we lead our children into adulthood one step at a time. May we look to our Heavenly Father for His guidance and strength.