Passengers on a recent JetBlue flight from New York to California cheered whenever a baby cried. In my experience, this is not typical airline passenger behavior.
Their motivation, however, was simple: the company offered a twenty-five percent discount each time a baby started crying. It wanted to make the point that passengers should be more understanding of parents traveling with young children. Unfortunately, JetBlue is unlikely to make the promotion a regular feature of its flights.
The only passengers who needed no such motivation were the babies’ mothers. The closest humans get to unconditional love is a mother’s love for her child. In fact, I can’t think of a closer analogy to our Father’s love for us.
So, how should we express our gratitude on Mother’s Day?
A Forbes magazine columnist recently compiled a list of “10 Best Mother’s Day Gifts from Shark Tank.” Each item was featured on the popular television show. Her list begins with ice cream you can order for Mom with your message printed on the carton. It includes a coffee subscription service, chocolate- and candy-covered pretzels, and “wicked good cupcakes.”
I noticed, however, that none of the products she recommends will last longer than it takes to consume them. Hopefully, the sentiment outlives the gift.
In 1905, Anna Jarvis initiated the idea of Mother’s Day in America to honor the memory of her deceased mother. Nine years later, President Woodrow Wilson made the holiday a national observance. By Ms. Jarvis’s death in 1948, forty-three countries around the world had joined the tradition. We typically use carnations because they were Anna Jarvis’s mother’s favorite flower.
Anna Jarvis’s creation is wonderful, but here’s the rest of the story: every day should be Mother’s Day. Not just the second Sunday in May, but the third Wednesday in August and the fourth Thursday in October. As the father of two grown sons, I can testify that a mother is never not a mother. No matter how old her children grow or how independent they become, she will always be their mother. It was the same with my mother, and with yours.
So we should find ways to express our gratitude every day to our mothers and to our Father who gave them to us. If your mother led you closer to your Father, you especially have reasons for thanksgiving each day, as you will for all eternity.
I believe the influence of a godly mother is evident even in the life of the Lord Jesus. When the unwed Mary was asked to become the mother of the Son of God, she risked her marriage and even her life to respond, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Is it any wonder that her Son, when faced with his own life-and-death decision, prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39)?
Whether your mother is living or deceased, how will you honor her or her memory this Sunday? How will you do the same on Monday?
Note: My wife’s column on Mother’s Day is the best I have seen on today’s subject. I hope you’ll read What Your Mom Really Wants for Mother’s Day.