Countries around the world set aside a special day for mothers. It is celebrated on the second Sunday in May in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia, India, Brazil, Germany, Ethiopia and the Philippines. Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mothers Day an official holiday starting on May 8, 1914. Still other nations honor mothers on different dates.
This week husbands, sons and daughters will don their masks and struggle to keep their distance while searching for the perfect Mothers Day card. Florists will put on extra staff to handle the demand. Many families will test pandemic restrictions to take their mothers out to eat.
Regardless of our nationality, ethnicity or gender, we were each carried in our mother’s womb, given birth through her labor and, in almost all cases, nursed and nourished to life by her care.
No office and no position wields greater power and influence over the future of humanity than the influence of a mother. The memories and lessons given in infancy at a mother’s hand surpass every other classroom and instruction. The faith of a mother inspires and instructs more effectively than any pulpit or pen.
We see it in history, and we see it in the Bible.
In a log cabin in Kentucky, Nancy Hanks Lincoln recognized the early gifts in her child. She not only taught him to read, but instructed him in the principles that would shape his life. Without Nancy, and Sarah, who became Lincoln’s stepmother after Nancy died, it is unlikely that Abraham Lincoln would have ever surfaced to lead our nation in its greatest hour of crisis.
If it were not for Moses’ mother, the world would have never known the great law-giver who led Israel from captivity and gave us the Ten Commandments. It was she who hid him in the reeds at the river to save his infant life and it was she who cared for him in Pharaoh’s court.
How many mothers have petitioned God for the birth of a child, as Hannah prayed in the presence of Eli, the prophet? Without her prayer, Samuel would not have been born, and would not have been present to anoint David, the king of Israel.
In the fullness of time, in an obscure Galilean village, another young woman lifted up her eyes to heaven and sang, “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His handmaiden; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For He that is mighty has done to me great things, and holy is His name.” (Luke 1:46-49). Without Mary we would never have known Jesus, and the world would remain lost in its sins without a Savior.
Paul referred to the importance of a mother’s faith when he wrote to his young protégé, Timothy: “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.” (2 Timothy 1:5).
This Mother’s Day we honor all our mothers who have shaped us and made a better world. It also stands as a challenge to all those young women who give birth to the next generation and shape the future of the world to come.