Every year at this time, children, of all ages, have quite a challenge. How are they going to pay attention to mom in such a way that the day goes well? There are the standard and routine ways to recognize this one very important person in the family – a card, a phone call, flowers, children trying to be on their best behavior. Mothers and their children tend to have high expectations for what the day will be like.
I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the history surrounding Mother’s Day? The history behind Mother’s Day begins with Anna Jarvis who first suggested a national observance honoring all mothers because she had loved her own mother so dearly. At a memorial service for her mother on May 10, 1908, Miss Jarvis gave a carnation (her mother's favorite flower) to each person who attended. Within the next few years, the idea of a day to honor mothers gained popularity, and Mother' s Day was observed in a number of large cities throughout the United States.
Then on May 9, 1914, by an act of Congress, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day. He established the day as a time for what he called the "public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country." By then, it had become customary to wear white carnations to honor departed mothers and red to honor the living, a custom that continues to this day.
Mother’s Day is filled with much fanfare and celebration—the cards, the flowers, the special treatment for mom. But we would be remise if we did not also point out that there is a lot of pain and raw emotion associated with this day as well. Some people have buried their mothers whom they very much loved. Others are estranged from their mothers. Some don't know their mothers. Not to mention, many women feel like failures as mothers because their kids didn't turn out well. Some want desperately to be mothers but God has not given them the gift of children. Some have lost children. Some have miscarried. Some have aborted their children. For these reasons, and more, Mother's Day can be a difficult holiday for a lot of people.
Despite the complexity of this day, many churches choose to celebrate Mother’s Day with much gusto – giving flowers to mothers, recognizing the oldest mother present, perhaps the pastor even gives a sermon on the topic of family and motherhood. While we do not typically do these things in the Lutheran Church, we still recognize this day, but from a different perspective. We recognize the fact that in Christ Jesus the old roles in life are broken down. In Christ we are mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and children to one another. Today we don't observe a holiday which excludes people. Rather, we celebrate Christ who through His life, death and resurrection connects and binds us to one another.
Pastor Bryan E. Drebes
Pastor Drebes attended Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, beginning in 1997. He spent the summer of 1999 teaching English to Chinese middle school teachers in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. He served a four-month vicarage at St. John Lutheran Church, Plymouth, Wisconsin, followed by eight months at Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas. Pastor Drebes was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry at Zion Lutheran Church, Palmyra, Missouri on August 19, 2001, and installed as Associate Pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas on September 9, 2001. He served Bethany for 14 years. Pastor Drebes accepted a Divine