Is Celebrating Mother’s Day Biblical?

Mother's Day

There is a question among some Christians about if celebrating Mother’s Day is Biblical. I will answer that question in this blog post. But first some background.

Who Was the Founder of Mother’s Day?

The founder of Mother’s Day was Miss Anna Jarvis, a teacher in the class that her deceased mother had taught. On May 12, 1907, Anna passed out carnations to this class in honor of her mother. Here’s the impact of what a Mom can do: in the New Testament, there was a great pastor named Timothy who pastored the Ephesian church. And where did Timothy get his start? The Apostle Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:5, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice…and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”

For Some People, Mother’s Day Can Be a Difficult Day

Our prayer: “Father, we honor our moms because you chose them to create each of us. We know for many that Mother’s Day is a difficult day, and we ask you to comfort those with heartaches today. And we also thank you for Mary, the mother of Jesus. It’s in the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.”

What Mother’s Day Really Means

Mother’s Day is a day to express our love and gratitude to all the mother figures in our life, including our mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and aunts. But I think the true significance of Mother’s Day in a sentence is: God used your mother to bring you into this life because He has a specific purpose for you as He does for all of us. God knew the exact DNA he needed to create a unique you. There may be some like you, but there is no one who is a carbon copy of you. Even identical twins are not identical.

What Was God’s Purpose in Creating Moms

And by the way, did you know that God knew you BEFORE He used your Mom to create you? David, the psalmist, in Psalm 139:13 (NIV) says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” … The prophet, Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 1:5 wrote down what the Lord said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” 

God had a very specific purpose for Jeremiah who lived about 600 years before the birth of Christ. Jeremiah was a prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah in the Old Testament, right before Judah ultimately fell to Babylon and was led away into captivity. God sent Jeremiah to a crumbling nation to warn of their impending demise – and of course it’s a warning they did not heed just like we often times put wisdom and discernment aside and instead go our way instead of God’s way…and how does that usually wind up?!

And Jeremiah of course had a mother, too, but even though her name is not mentioned in the Bible, without her, and her unique DNA, there would not have been the Jeremiah that we know of today.

God Created Mothers With Purpose – The Purpose Driven Life

  1. Rick Warren in his book Purpose Driven Life (by the way if you have not read that book I highly recommend you get a copy…it’s an easy read, and you don’t have to be theologian to understand anything it says…and according to Thrive News, has now sold over 50 million copies and has been translated into over 130 languages as of the recording of this podcast. All I can say is Wow!)
  2. Rick says, “You were made for a reason, and until you find what your purpose in life really is, life won’t make much sense.” And if you think about it, I believe your purpose is also tied directly to your unique DNA for it is IN that DNA that God has also given you certain gifts of the spirit. Gifts of the Spirit are special abilities given to us by the Holy Spirit when we become Christians, and these gifts are not to be used for selfish purposes, but rather to build up the church and bring more people to Christ. The Bible has several lists of various gifts of the Spirit that you see in Romans 12:7-8 (if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. But that’s not an exhaustive list of the gifts.
  3. And Rick goes on to say, “There may be accidental parents, but there are no accidental children.” What Rick is saying is that God has a specific purpose for you, no matter what your background.

The History of Mother’s Day

The Early History of “Mother’s Day” (Mothering Day)

So, going back in history, early Christians in England observed a day to commemorate Mary, the mother of Christ, in the 1600’s. The celebration then extended to honor all moms by a religious institution. “Mothering Day” is observed in the U.K. on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Lent is the 40-day period period before Easter where people choose to give up something, like a certain food or activity, in the form of fasting with the goal of Lent being to grow closer to the Lord as one prepares for the anniversary of Jesus’ death and resurrection). “Lent” is the  English word stemming from an Anglo-Saxon word for “spring” and related to the English word “lengthen”; hence we get the Lent season.

Even though many Christians observe the Lenten season, the specific observation of Lent is not actually mentioned in the Bible. There are no commands for Christians in the Bible regarding mandatory fasting or dietary rules. That’s purely from the church and man-made tradition. And one other thing: Lent did not begin in biblical times. According to the Oxford Concise Dictionary of the Christian Church, Lent was first mentioned in AD 325; that’s 325 years after the death of Jesus Christ on earth.

Mother’s Day in the US

We know the customary ways to commemorate moms on Mother’s Day include taking them out to dinner, or cooking them dinner, or giving them commemoration cards, flowers, or chocolates. There is nothing in the Bible that forbids us from setting aside a special day to celebrate our moms, so nothing to worry there.

Should Christians Celebrate Mother’s Day?

Before we go to what the Bible says about motherhood and what to do regarding our mothers, I want to touch briefly on the topic of what some ask, “Should Christians Celebrate Mother’s Day? After all, if you look at the roots of Mother’s Day,  the origins of Mother’s Day, also known as Mothering Day in the United Kingdom, can be linked to ancient pagan rituals (pagans are non-Christians), but the concept of mother’s day has gone through many changes and titles to become what it is today.

The origins of Mother’s Day can be found in ancient Greek festivals honoring Rhea; she was the mother of the gods, and goddess of female fertility, motherhood, and generation. So you say, “Now wait a minute, Pastor…you’re telling me that if I want to celebrate Mother’s Day, that honoring my mother is actually like idol worship, putting my mother before God? No, I’m not saying that at all…I’m only giving you a brief history of where the concept of honoring mothers came from, and then as you will see in a minute, what the Bible has to say.

What the Bible Says About Mother’s Day

Let’s see what the Bible says about Motherhood. There are 4 aspects of motherhood.

  • First, there’s conception (Genesis 4:1 where the Bible talks about Adam making love to his wife Eve and in Luke 1:24 where there’s the mention of Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, becoming pregnant).
  • The second thing the Bible talks about in reference to motherhood is pregnancy itself (2 Samuel 11:5 where Bathsheba told David that she was pregnant from their adulterous affair).
  • The 3rd thing the Bible says about motherhood is the pain of childbirth (Genesis 3:16 “with painful labor you will give birth to children” and John 16:21 “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world”).
  • The 4th topic in the Bible about motherhood is nursing (1 Samuel 1:23 “Do what seems best to you,” her husband El-Kah-Nah [Elkanah] told her. “Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the Lord make good his word.” So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him).

So the Bible has a lot to say about what motherhood is.

What The Bible Teaches About Honoring Our Mothers

  • We can start by looking at the fifth commandment found in Exodus 20:12 (NIV): “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” The significance of honoring our parents, notably our mothers, is emphasized by this commandment. Respecting, being nice to, and loving our mothers is part of what it means to honor them.
  • We get a lovely description of a good lady who is a wife and mother in Proverbs 31:26-28 (NIV) – “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her…”
  • The life of Mary, Jesus’ mother, also demonstrates the love and sacrifice of a mother. Despite the difficulties that came with it, Mary voluntarily accepted the responsibility of being the mother of God’s son. Jesus was born to her in a stable, and she reared Him to be the world’s Savior.

Jesus Is the Example of How We Should Treat Our Mothers

Jesus’ treatment of His own mother demonstrates the value of mothers. Jesus told His disciple, John, that he was to take care of His mother while He was on the cross, saying, “Woman, here is your son,” and speaking to John, “Here is your mother.” (John 19:26-27 NIV). Jesus exhibited His love and concern for His mother even in His dying moments. This chapter serves as a reminder of the value of taking good care of our moms, just as Jesus did for His own mother.

Heavenly Jerusalem – The Mother of all Christians

And did you know that the the heavenly Jerusalem is the “mother” of Christians? Jesus said as was recorded in Galatians 4:26 – “But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.” Jesus spoke of His compassion for Jerusalem as being like that of a mother hen for her chicks (Matthew 23:37 NIV).

Heavenly Jerusalem that Jesus is referring to is the NEW Jerusalem, also known as the 4th heaven; it’s the holy city that descends from God in Revelation 21:2 where the Apostle John said, “‘Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”  for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.’”

The NEW Jerusalem is a garden-temple where God dwells with His people and the glory of heaven fills the earth. Although the phrase “New Jerusalem” occurs in the Bible only at Revelation 3:12 and Revelation 21:2, the concept it expresses—a restored world in which God’s chosen people will be secure—is the fulfillment of the message of the Old Testament prophets and other early Jewish writings.

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