Summary: This is a spiritual bouquet for all women on Mother's Day. In a world where flowers have become one of the primary Mother's Day gifts--- here's a spiritual bouquet in celebration.
Mothers Day in the United States was officially founded by Anna Jarvis. Her mother always said there should be a day to honor women, a celebration of their contributions in the world. Anna Jarvis never forgot her mother’s words….and when her mother died in 1905, she decided to fulfill them. She began by organizing a celebration at a Methodist Church in West Virginia….pink carnations were a part of the celebration because they were her mother’s favorite flower. To Anna, carnations were a pure symbol of a mother’s undying love.
Today, flowers are just a part of Mother’s day. Florists have been working overtime and shops are filled with beautiful bouquets. Mother’s Day accounts for a quarter of all flower purchases throughout the year. According to some of the statistics I found, in 2015 the total amount of money spent on flowers for Mother’s day was nearly 1.9 billion dollars!! And, 23% of women were looking forward to a bouquet of flowers for Mother’s Day. Anticipating in 2017, it is estimated 69% of those celebrating Mother’s Day will buy flowers, spending nearly 26 billion dollars!!! 72% of all Mother’s Day gifts will be fresh flowers or plants!
This morning, along with giving our special women a carnation, we could give them a huge, special Mother’s Day Bouquet with an array of fresh flowers!!!
We start with Carnations….Carnations are the Mother’s Day flower. The word carnation comes either from the Greek of the Latin…both offer us meaningful roots. In Greek, the word is “corone”, a flower garland, from which we get Coronation because the flower garlands were used in ceremonial crowns. Esther in the Old Testament was a young Jewish woman who physically wore a crown. She was chosen by King Xerxes to be his Queen. He placed, not a flower garland, but a golden crown upon her head! Because of the power of the crown, Queen Esther was able to use her position and her power to save the Jewish people from death at the hands of an evil man named Haman.
Proverbs 17:6 says “Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” Grandchildren are the crown to their Grandmother’s!
In Latin, the word carnations is believed to have come from “carnis” which means flesh, referring to the flower's light pink color, which matches a light skin colored hue. It is from the Latin Carnis, that we get the word incarnacyon….which means, incarnation, God made flesh. Legend tells us that the carnation first appeared on earth because of the Virgin Mary’s tears when her son was dying upon the cross. So the carnation, from incarnation is a powerful symbol of a Mother’s undying love. The carnation is a beautifully perfect flower to celebrate women and the necessary foundation to our Mother’s Day Bouquet!
Another popular flower in Mother’s Day Bouquets is the Rose. Roses have a language all their own, telling stories and secrets through their varying colors. But roses have long symbolized confidentiality. There’s a Latin phrase, “sub rosa,” which literally means, “Under the rose.”…something that is told in secret. In Rome, a wild rose was placed on the door to a room where confidential matters were being discussed. I love this image for Mother’s Day because Mother’s Father’s see the best in their children. In a world that often seems harsh, cold and unforgiving, Mothers hold our secrets…our imperfections….our mistakes and they see the people we are inside…..sometimes the people we could be!
Remember Rebekah, she gave birth to twins: Jacob and Esau. They began fighting in the womb. While Rebekah did favor Jacob, she had to know he was deceptive and underhanded. She knew her son took advantage of others, especially his brother Esau, but she held that in confidence and celebrated his gifts.
Or, similarly, Salome is often said to be the Mother of Jesus’ Disciples James and John. They were known as the Sons of Thunder. They were impulsive and prone to action and fighting. She had to see who her sons were…how they acted, but she treasured what they could be….and even approached Jesus asking on their behalf that they would have places of honor in heaven.
We need Roses in our Mother’s Day Bouquet. We need women who believe in us and see all we can be, holding in confidence our imperfections.
With that we also celebrate women who will stand up for us, fight for us. Gladiolas symbolize strength and moral integrity. Their name comes from the Latin “gladius” which means Sword, named for the shape of their leaves. To give someone a bouquet of gladiolas, means that person pierces our hearts. Mothers are protectors….we talk about being the Mama Bear….because mother’s protect their cubs. In a beautiful role reversal, we remember the story of Ruth and her mother in law Naomi? Naomi has lost her husband and both of her sons. She sends her two daughter in laws to return to their homelands and she plans to waste away in death. She has no one to care for her….no honor….no family. She even changes her name to Mara, which means bitter tears. But Ruth refuses. She offers us the beautiful words of commitment that are often used at Weddings, where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay, you home will be my home, your God my God. She commits to staying with Naomi, to protect her, to take care of her, to shield her from the harsh reality of life. Ruth brings food home and eventually marries Boaz. She cares for her mother in law…..in a way only a woman can do. Gladiolas remind us of a woman’s strength and her fierce desire to protect the people around them.