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Have you ever heard of the woman who hated Mother’s Day? According to the Toronto Star’s website, there was such a woman. If you think the spirit of Mother’s Day has been spoiled by the commercialism of cards, flowers and once-a-year sincerity, you stand united with the woman credited with giving us the annual event.

West Virginian Anna Jarvis was so horrified by the monster she helped create in 1914, she spent most of her later years campaigning to have the second Sunday in May removed from the calendar as the day to honour your mother.


In the end, Jarvis lost the fight. The woman, who was never a mother herself, exhausted her financial resources and ruined her mental health in that fight. She died alone in 1948 in an asylum at the age of 84. Just before her death Jarvis told a local reporter: "I devoted my entire life to Mother’s Day and the racketeers and grafters have taken it over."


"She simply wanted a day to honour and remember mothers, but in her mind it didn’t turn out that way," says William Pollard, an archivist at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Va., where Jarvis bequeathed her letters and other writings.

In 1914, Jarvis spearheaded a campaign to help persuade U.S. president Woodrow Wilson to set aside May’s second Sunday as a national day for recognition. She orchestrated a letter-writing campaign to Wilson, lobbied influential politicians and clergymen and distributed brochures arguing about the importance of a national day for mothers.


Jarvis’ cause came from admiration for her recently deceased mother, Anna Maria, and others like her who had been an inspiration. But by the early 1920s, she was sickened by the commercial circus she had helped create. She felt the day had nothing to do with celebrating the real achievements of women.


Jarvis spent her latter days crashing floral company conventions to protest and urging card companies to give the money they made from Mother’s Day to the poor. At one Mother’s Day convention where flowers were being sold she was arrested for disturbing the peace. She even launched a lawsuit to stop a Mother’s Day festival from being held. (Story fr. Thestar.com)


For Jarvis, her mother was an inspiration, she wanted to honor her. And I believe it is the same kind of inspiration that drove Isaiah to write, for he sees something in mothers that shows us what God is really like. He wanted his readers to know that God cares, and he knows the power of a word picture and he chooses mothers, to picture for his audience, the kind of God who is totally committed to their welfare.

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