Regard (treat with honor, due obedience, and courtesy) your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land the Lord your God gives you. (Exodus 20:12, AMP)
Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you in the land which the Lord your God gives you. (Deuteronomy 5:16, AMP)
On Sunday, May 10, 2015, we celebrate Mother’s Day. It is a day set aside to honor the mothers of the world and all that they do for their children. It is a day to give back to them. As Christians, we are commanded to honor, to respect our parents, always! We should do this everyday, however there is nothing wrong with showering mothers with extra attention on their special day! Twice in the Books of Law, Moses reminds the Israelites of the importance of honoring their parents! Obviously, this was an important action before the Lord!
The commandment to honor our parents was not forgotten outside of the Law. There are numerous references scattered throughout the Old and New Testament to showing respect towards one parents. What better example than Jesus Chirst’s own words?
For God commanded, Honor your father and your mother, and, He who curses or reviles or speaks evil of or abuses or treats improperly his father or mother, let him surely come to his end by death. But you say, If anyone tells his father or mother, What you would have gained from me [that is, the money and whatever I have that might be used for helping you] is already dedicated as a gift to God, then he is exempt and no longer under obligation to honor and help his father or his mother. So for the sake of your tradition (the rules handed down by your forefathers), you have set aside the Word of God [depriving it of force and authority and making it of no effect]. (Matthew 15:4-6, AMP)
In this passage, Jesus was calling out the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. The Pharisees held the Jews accountable for following the Law, which included honoring one’s parents. Children, specifically the first son, was to provide for his mother, should her husband die. It was part of obeying the law. Yet the Pharisees approved of men taking the money which would have been used to provide for their mothers and instead giving it to God, through the Temple, through the Pharisees. Which action is more honorable to the Lord? Jesus clearly tells us. He also shows us.
But by the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the [wife] of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. So Jesus, seeing His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing near, said to His mother, [Dear] woman, See, [here is] your son! Then He said to the disciple, See, [here is] your mother! And from that hour, the disciple took her into his own [keeping, own home]. (John 19:25-27, AMP)
Jesus was doing the Lord’s work; dying on the cross for our salvation. The pain He was in is something we cannot imagine. Yet, in the midst of His pain and suffering, He continued to honor His Father, by caring for His mother. Jesus was Mary’s first Son. It was His responsibility to care for her (many scholars believe that by this time Joseph had died, as he is not mentioned). Jesus knew that He would no longer be able to care for Mary on Earth, so he passed on the responsibility to a trusted disciple. What an example Jesus set!
Although the holiday of Mother’s Day may be recent, the idea behind it, honoring your mother, is far from new. This Mother’s Day take time out to honor and celebrate your mother and all that she has done for you. But do not let it end there! Continue to honor her everyday!
Celebrating Thanksgiving Around the World
Although traditionally associated with the United States of America, we are not the only nation to celebrate Thanksgiving. Nations throughout the world also celebrate a day called Thanksgiving, often in their own way.
Canada celebrates Thanksgiving every year on the second Monday of October. The first Canadian Thanksgiving celebration is believed to have occurred in present-day Newfoundland in 1578, 43 years before American started celebrating! Like America, it began as a day to give thanks and celebrate a successful harvest. You would probably recognize many of the dishes served, including pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, and stuffing! During the American Revolution, many of those loyal to England moved to Canada, taking with them many of the American traditions. Unlike America, where it is a public holiday in all 50 states, Thanksgiving remains optional in several of Canada’s Atlantic provinces.
Grenada celebrates Thanksgiving every year on October 25. Grenada’s celebration, however, bears no resemblance to that of the United States or Canada. On October 25, this Caribbean nation celebrates the anniversary of the US led invasion of the island in 1983, following the murder of the Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. The US led invasion overthrow the party responsible for Maurice’s murder. Thanksgiving Day is considered a public holiday in Grenada, meaning banks and most business are closed.
Liberia celebrates Thanksgiving every year on the first Thursday of November. Like Canada, the tradition came from the United States. The nation of Liberia began in 1820, when freed black slaves returned to Africa, bringing with them the tradition of Thanksgiving. Many of the foods, such as turkeys and pumpkins, have been replaced with local food items such as roast chicken and mashed cassavas, and are often served quite spicy.
The Netherlands remember those who came to Plymouth Plantation via the city of Leiden, where many births, marriages, and deaths were recording at the Pieterskerk (St. Peter’s church). In commemoration, a non-denominational Thanksgiving Day service is held every year Pieterskerk on the morning of Thanksgiving Day in the United States.
Norfolk Island, an Australian territory, celebrates Thanksgiving on the last Wednesday of November every year. The holiday was introduced to the island by visiting American whaling ships. Prior to World War II, the United States used to celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of month, likely how Norfolk Island came to celebrate on the last Wednesday of the month.
Germany celebrates Erntedankfest, the Harvest Thanksgiving Festival, in early October every year. The holiday has a significant religious component to it and is similar to the United States in that the celebration includes large harvest dinners and parades. Oktoberfest, the Bavarian beer festival often coincides with Erntedankfest.
Japan celebrates 勤労感謝の日 (Labor Thanksgiving) every year on November 23. The national holiday developed during the American occupation following World War II. The holiday celebrates labor and production and giving one another thanks. The Japanese celebration is also related to an ancient harvest ceremony.
Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States, celebrates Thanksgiving on the same day as the rest of the United States, every year on the fourth Thursday of November. Similar to Liberia, Puerto Ricans have substituted traditional American food for native, local food including tastiness (fried plantains), turkey stuffed with mofongo, slow-roasted pavochon, roast pork and rice and beans, and, for dessert, tembleque (a cinnamon-coated coconut custard).
Britain, and numerous other nations, do not celebrate Thanksgiving, however they celebrate Harvest Festivals. These festivals can occur at any time throughout the year, in accordance with the nation’s differing climates and crops. In earlier times, farmers would often, at the end of the harvest season, enjoy a harvest supper and invite all those who had participated in the harvesting of crops to partake in the meal. Often the celebration would include games.