How can I describe the emotions of parents who love their children? We stamp a remarkable similarity in heart and in appearance on the character of small children. This is especially true of mothers, who have even more sympathy than fathers toward the feelings of their children because they gave birth to them in great pain.
4 Maccabees 15:4
(Common English Bible)
This sentiment bears repeating:
Mom. Throughout time, words have been used to describe the perfect mother. Songs and poems have memorialized mothers. The love a mother has for her children is amazing. In nature, you see animal moms risking life and limb to protect their young. Even in Scripture, we see many “Mom” stories, including Naomi, the wonderful mom who takes her daughter-in-law under her wing even when both of their husbands have died. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus’ mom follows him, even to the point of watching her son die in agony on the cross. I can almost imagine that on those late nights when Jesus was out praying late into the night, somewhere his mom was saying, “Son, don’t forget to take a sweater.”
The book of Maccabees is one of the “extra” books of the Bible included in the Apocrypha. These books did not make it into the regular canon of Scripture, but they contain many wise sayings and stories, and today’s Scripture is certainly fitting for this week. In the books of Maccabees, the writers tell of the Maccabean revolt and of the establishment of the tradition of the Festival of Lights or Hanukkah. Tucked away in the middle of the story of revolt and reclaiming the temple are the words above about parents, and particularly about mothers. Oftentimes, the mother is the educator and the mainstay of the home. Mom teaches the children what they need to know about life and forms them in their faith from the earliest age by talking about God and about their faith heritage.
Moms shape us, don’t they? They “stamp a remarkable similarity in heart and in appearance on the character of small children.” They read books, tell stories, soothe bumps and bruises, cry with their children, and even stay up late to worry about their teens. Moms have a special connection to their children. They can almost see behind the eyes of their children, predicting their next move, warding off dangers and guiding their children to safety. Moms also stay up praying over their children and helping to form the faith of their children even in the face of immeasurable odds. God is like that, too. God sees us at our worst and loves us anyway. God guides us along this path of life if we will follow, and like a Mom, God never gives up on us.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, remember to thank your Mother if she is still alive, and thank God for your mother. Then, remember to give thanks that God, the greatest parent, never gives up on us.
Rev. Jan McCoy is the associate pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at email@example.com.