With the approach of Mother’s Day, May 12, family relationships come up for reflection too. It’s good for a Christian congregation to isolate this noble theme, motherhood, and to set aside a special day to honor lavishly all mothers. But it is inescapably family day too.
In a sense the day will not focus only on the honorees–mothers–but also on others in relationship with them. Motherhood is a family-based title. How can we celebrate motherhood without reflecting on family?
On Mother’s Day, mothers all over this continent will be showered with beautiful cards of love. It will be the telephone company’s busiest day of the year for long distance phone calls. In our culture, mothers are super important.
And so it should be. Mothers are the bearers of the race. They suffer the not insignificant strain of carrying a baby to term. Then long before that infant can show the slightest hint of gratitude for the night time feedings, the ever-and-anon diaper changes, the soothing of fevers and healing of rashes, mother carries on with a commitment that is nothing short of heroic. She labors through sometimes sleepless nights and wearying days. She deserves more than a card or phone call; she deserves a public celebration and a big shiny medal.
But sometimes in the long process of bearing, birthing and raising a child, things go wrong. Misunderstandings crop up. Rifts form in relationships. The very children so cared for sometimes sail into their maturity feeling they have good reason to withhold notes of appreciation. On Mother’s Day mothers aplenty nurse the wounds of unrequited love.
Mother’s Day could well be the best day of the year for the healing of such wounds. It’s a family issue. An unexpected phone call, might do it, a card that counts the blessings of motherhood and forgets the long held grievances. Let the relationships long torn and left with ragged edges be healed with forgiveness.
It is the wonder of Christianity that when we ask him, God in Christ forgives us for our sins of ingratitude, our broken relationships, our real or imagined grievances. He does so by bearing those sins into oblivion on a thankless cross.
Mother’s Day would be a good day to pray for healing all across our lands. Where mothers and daughters or mothers and sons have lost precious months or years through misunderstandings may they come home to one another by means of a mighty surge of forgiveness.
So this Mother’s Day, as the phone calls flow and bouquets arrive, may Christians and non-Christians alike make it a day to pray privately for reconciliations, wherever they are needed. We dare not forget that in this situation, as in all others, the Lord Jesus Christ is the great reconciler.
It’s been said that when rifts, misunderstandings, or blunders stress an important relationship, “The first to apologize is the bravest, the first to forgive is the strongest, the first to move forward is the happiest.”