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Is Mother's Day in the Bible?

Well, no. The Bible does not directly address a holiday celebrating mothers. However, in many verses, it often asks followers to honor and love their mothers.

Many believe that Mothers’ Day stems from ancient religions with female deities. Each spring the ancient Greeks devoted a day to honor their maternal goddesses. The ancient Romans had a several-day festival that celebrated Cybele, the Great Mother, beginning on the Ides of March and extending through the vernal equinox. Then, in the 16th century, Mothering Sunday was recognized during the fourth Sunday of Lent for parishes of the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church. But this holiday was less about mothers and more about attending your “mother church,” meaning the local Christian church.

In the US, this more modern celebration was created in 1908 by Anna Jarvis, and it became an official US holiday in 1914. Jarvis wanted to recognize her mother's efforts to organize local women to serve the sick and indigent, particularly soldiers of both the Union and Confederacy during the Civil War. After the war, they called for a Mothers Friendship Day and worked to reconcile families torn apart by loyalties to both the north and the south, having shown how they could work together for healing despite being opponents during in the war. Mother's Day has evolved since then into a secular holiday on which we recognize and celebrate the women who gave birth to us, those who raised us, and those who provide motherly advice and love (regardless of their title!).

Back to the Bible. Here are some of the many verses relating to the intent of Mother's Day:

“The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”

– Genesis 3:20

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’”

– Proverbs 31:28-31

“When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”

– John 19:26-27

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

– Proverbs 31:25-28

By working to honor mothers of all kinds on this day, we honor the day’s original intent—to draw attention to those women who serve as disciples of God’s compassion, peace, and justice. Happy Mother's Day to all!


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