The Apple Of God's Eye

March 30, 2009

Is Father's Day Or Mother's Day Of Religious Origin?

Neither Father’s Day nor Mother’s Day is fundamentally religious in character in North America. They are secular holidays of comparatively recent origin.

The history of Father’s Day started in 1909, in Spokane, Washington, Sonora Smart Dodd was listening to a Mother’s Day sermon when she was inspired to have a special day dedicated to her father, whom she felt touched her with his sacrifices, courage, selflessness and love. She held the first Father’s Day celebration on 19th of June 1910, and the idea caught on. However, it was to be thirty years before a Joint Resolution of Congress gave recognition to Father’s Day, and another 16 years before President Richard Nixon established the third Sunday of June as a permanent national observance of Father’s Day.

The history of Mother’s Day is supposed to go back centuries, but it wasn’t until 1907, when Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948), a Philadelphia schoolteacher, began a movement to set up a national Mother’s Day in honor of her mother. The first Mother’s Day observance was a church service, and her hard work finally paid off in the year 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as a national holiday in honor of mothers. 

Sadly, in this world parents are too often forgotten and neglected in day-to-day living. It seems we need to make up for this by a special holiday dedicated to the role of each parent. The Bible, of course, teaches that parents should be HONORED at all times (Ex. 20:12; Eph. 6:1-3). 

But of course there is nothing wrong with acknowledging these days. Yes, Christians follow God’s instructions in remembering and honoring parents daily, but if one also wants to send a card with personal best wishes or telephone parents on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, that is fine also. There is no biblical command against it.

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