Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

History and origins of Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day Holy Days; Scriptures for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

{To see brief history write-ups, scroll down the page}

Scriptures for Mother’s Day

John 2:1-11 (Holy Mother encourages Jesus to turn Water into Wine)

1 Kings 3:16-28 (A Wise Ruling by King Solomon about two women arguing over a child)

1 Samuel 1:9-28 (Hannah praying for a child)

Matthew 15:21-28 (Canaan Woman Pleads with Jesus for her Child)

Scriptures for Father’s Day

Mark 9:14-29 (“I believe, help my unbelief” – Jesus heals a boy possessed by a spirit)

Luke 15:11-32 (Prodigal Son)

Matthew 7:7-12 (When child asks, what fathers will refuse)

A Brief History of Mothers’ Day

England was the first country in the world to dedicate a day for mothers, as early as the 1600s. It was known as “Mothering Sunday” and it was celebrated on the fourth Sunday in Lent. During that era, it was commonplace for poor and “meddling” class families in England to send their children to work as domestic servants or apprentices with members of the upper classes and the echelons of society.

Children and young adults, who lived away from their families were allowed to visit their homes once a year. The day set aside for the annual visit home was the Fourth Sunday of Lent, and that came to be known as “Mothering Sunday” in some parts of the English speaking world. It was the Sunday when people, mainly children and young adults, visited the churches where their mothers worshiped (their “Mother Church,” as opposed to the church closest to where they lived, which was known as the “Daughter Church”). After paying a visit to the Mother Church, it was customary for children to spend time with their mothers and present them with flowers, which they gathered from bushes along the way. The tradition of Mothering Sunday in the English speaking world stopped with the coming of the Industrial Revolution, when life patterns of the working classes changed due to advances in technology.

In the United States of America, the woman most often credited with the founding of Mothers’ Day is Ms. Anna Reeves Jarvis. The St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Grafton, WV is called “the Mothers’ Day Church” because Anna Jarvis was active there; today her home in Grafton is a national landmark.

When the Civil War broke out Ms. Jarvis called together women from surrounding areas, both North and South, and asked them to make a pledge that friendship and good will would not be a casualty of the war. In a remarkable display of courage and compassion the women nursed soldiers from both sides and saved many lives regardless of the color of their uniform.

As if that weren’t enough, Anna Reeves Jarvis became a genuine peacemaker after the war. The wounds and animosity between families who fought on either side were deep and harsh. Ms. Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Days” to bring together families across the Mason Dixon line.

In 1907, the first formal “Mothers’ Day” was organized and celebrated in Grafton, WV, in St. Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church to ensure that the work of peacemaking would not be forgotten. A special service was held at the cemetery and Ms. Jarvis herself preached and led that service.

The reason it is customary to present ladies with carnations on Mothers’ Day is because it was Anna Jarvis’ Mothers’ favorite flower. The original intent was for everyone to wear a white carnation to honor a deceased mother, and a red one to honor a living mother, on Mothers’ Day. Today this custom has evolved into the modern tradition of presenting ladies with white or pink carnations.

Strangely enough, Ms. Jarvis was arrested in 1925 for trying to disrupt the celebration of Mothers’ Day. She objected to the commercialization of the holiday. Her vision was for Mothers’ Day to be a Holy Day, set aside to honor mothers. She wanted Mothers’ Day “to be a day of sentiment, not profit.” Beginning around 1920, she urged people to stop buying flowers and other gifts for their mothers, and she turned against her former commercial supporters. She referred to the florists, greeting card manufacturers and the confectionery industry as “charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers and termites that would undermine with their greed one of the finest, noblest and truest movements and celebrations.”

Sadly, Ms. Anna Reeves Jarvis spent her last days deeply in debt, living in poverty, and residing in the now-closed mental asylum in West Chester, PA. She died on November 24, 1948. Ironically, her final expenses were partly paid for by a group of grateful florists and a local Hallmark card merchant.

For more information, please visit http://time.com/3842561/mothers-day-history/ and http://mentalfloss.com/article/30659/founder-mothers-day-later-fought-have-it-abolished.

Another lady whose name is associated with Mothers’ Day is Julia Ward Howe. We know her as the lyricist of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Although that song was inspirational to the cause of the Union Army during the Civil War (the troops sang “God’s truth is marching on,” as they headed into battle, and “As [Christ] died to make men holy, let us die to make men free“), as the war dragged on and she saw the terrible price of conflict, Julia Ward Howe turned away from the militant attitude expressed so powerfully in her famous hymn. When the Civil War was over, she focused her attention on two other causes: voting rights for women, and world peace. After the war she wrote, “Why do not the mothers of mankind interfere in these matters to prevent the waste of that human life of which they alone know and bear the cost?… Arise … Christian women of this day. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, let women on this day leave the duties of hearth and home to set out in the work of peace.”

She began organizing what she called “Mothers’ Peace Day” festivals which were celebrated annually on June 2nd. Her basic conviction was that though the world may be divided by war and conflict, there is something in the experience of childbirth binding the mothers of the world together into one family.

For more information on how Mothers’ Day traditions evolved please visit http://womenshistory.about.com/od/howejwriting/a/mothers_day.htm and http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/5-3-2016/Mothers-and-peace/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother%27s_Day_Proclamation

A Brief History of Fathers’ Day

The campaign to celebrate the nation’s fathers was not met with the same enthusiasm as the campaign to celebrate Mothers’ Day. As one florist explained, “fathers haven’t the same sentimental appeal that mothers have.”

The very first Fathers’ Day was observed in West Virginia, on July 5, 1905 in Fairmont, West Virginia during a church service at Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton, who reportedly suggested the service to the pastor at Williams Memorial, is said to have been inspired to celebrate fathers after a mine explosion a few months before, in the nearby community of Monongah. This explosion ended 361 lives, many of them fathers and recent immigrants to the United States from Italy. It was, however, a one-time commemoration and not an annual celebration.

Another influencing force which further reinforced the establishment of Fathers’ Day was that of Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd. The idea of the Fathers’ Day holiday came to Mrs. Dodd as she was listening to a Mothers’ Day sermon in 1909. Having been raised by her father, Henry Jackson Smart, after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. It was her father who had made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Hence, since Sonora’s father was born in June, she chose to hold the first Fathers’ Day celebration in Spokane, WA in June. Although she initially thought of celebrating Fathers’ Day on June 5 (which was her Fathers’ birthday), the other people involved moved the celebration a few days back so that they would have enough time to adequately prepare for the celebration. Thus, the first Fathers’ Day was held instead on the third Sunday in the month of June, which happened to be June 19th, 1908, and was held at the Spokane YMCA.

For more information on how Fathers’ Day traditions evolved please visit http://www.theholidayspot.com/fathersday/history.htm and http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/fathers-day and http://vovalaw.com/fathers-day-2014/

During the 1920s and 1930s, there was a movement to combine Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day into a single holiday, Parents’ Day. Every year on Mothers’ Day, pro-Parents’ Day groups rallied in New York City’s Central Park – a public reminder, said Parents’ Day activist and radio performer Robert Spere, “that both parents should be loved and respected together.” Paradoxically, however, the Great Depression (started October 1929 and lasted well into the 1930s) derailed this effort to combine and de-commercialize the holidays. Struggling retailers and advertisers redoubled their efforts to make Fathers’ Day a “second Christmas” for men, promoting goods such as neckties, hats, socks, pipes and tobacco, golf clubs and other sporting goods, and greeting cards. When World War II began, advertisers began to argue that celebrating Fathers’ Day was a way of honoring American troops and to support the war effort. By 1945, the end of the World War II, Fathers’ Day had become a national institution.

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