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My favorite Mother's Day joke

On one of my study tours in Israel, we worked with a delightful Israeli-American guide.  Susan grew up in Boston and is a huge Red Sox fan.  She and her family chose to emigrate to Israel many years ago, where she guides for study tours.  She would call herself "a Jewish mother first, and tour guide second."  During our tour, she shared with us several of her "Jewish mother jokes."

This was my favorite: A son phones his mom on Mother's Day and asks, "Mom, how are you?"  "Not too good," his mother replies, "I've been very weak."  Her concerned son asks why.  "I've haven't eaten in 23 days," she explains.  "That's terrible!" her son says.  "Have you been to the doctor?"  "No, I know the reason why."  "Why haven't you eaten in 23 days?" he asks.  She explains: "Because I didn't want my mouth to be filled with food if my son should call."

May 12 is Mother's Day.  The holiday began with Anna Jarvis as a way to remember her own mother, the wife of a Methodist minister in Grafton, West Virginia.  Two years after her mother's death, Anna held a memorial service for her on the second Sunday in May, the day she had died.  The church was filled with 500 carnations, her mother's favorite flower.

Jarvis was so moved by the service that she started a letter-writing campaign to establish a formal holiday honoring mothers.  In 1910, West Virginia officially recognized "Mother's Day."  Five years later, President Woodrow Wilson signed the law making Mother's Day, the second Sunday in May, a national holiday.

Motherhood has never been more challenging than it is today.  For instance, more than 70 percent of children have viewed pornography online; the typical child is first exposed at the age of 11.  Single parents have an especially difficult task: statistically, a child in a single-parent household is far more likely to experience violence, commit suicide, become drug dependent, commit a crime, or perform below peers in education.  As our culture continues to embrace the claim that all truth is personal and all ethics are subjective, we will continue our slide into immorality.

But here's the good news: Mothers still have a transforming influence on our lives and our culture.  Abraham Lincoln said, "All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."  Dwight Moody agreed: "All that I have ever accomplished in life, I owe to my mother."  Charles Spurgeon testified, "I cannot tell how much I owe to the solemn words of my good mother."

If you're a mother, would you make a new commitment today to be a godly influence in your children's lives and eternity?  If your mother is still living, would you make a new commitment to pray for her as she fulfills her God-given calling?  If your mother is in glory, would you make a new commitment to honor her legacy with your faithfulness?  if your wife is a mother, would you make a new commitment to encourage her each day?

William Ross Wallace coined the phrase, "the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world."  I found the poem which contains the line, and thought it would be appropriate to quote today:

Blessings on the hand of women!
Angels guard its strength and grace.
In the palace, cottage, hovel,
Oh, no matter where the place;
Would that never storms assailed it,
Rainbows ever gently curled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Infancy's the tender fountain,
Power may with beauty flow,
Mothers first to guide the streamlets,
From them souls unresting grow—
Grow on for the good or evil,
Sunshine streamed or evil hurled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Woman, how divine your mission,
Here upon our natal sod;
Keep—oh, keep the young heart open
Always to the breath of God!
All true trophies of the ages
Are from mother-love impearled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Blessings on the hand of women!
Fathers, sons and daughters cry,
And the sacred song is mingled
With the worship in the sky—
Mingles where no tempest darkens,
Rainbows evermore are hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.



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