“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” was how Charles Dickens started the novel ‘The tale of two cities’ but it could also describe how Mother’s day is experienced for many people. If you’ve got a loving and positive relationship with your mum or if you are a mum with healthy children then it can be a wonderful day full of joy. Of course, if your family is in a state of dysfunction, if you have fertility issues or if your mum has died then Mother’s day can be a day that is dreaded. The marketing around Mother’s day is inescapable and with it images of shiny, happy families which can contrast starkly with the difficulties of reality.
The pain of the mother/child relationship is powerfully captured at the foot of the cross as Jesus mother watches his excruciating death. Amidst the pain of it all, Jesus speaks to and cares for his mother (John 19:25-27). In this act, he reminds a hurting world of his unparalleled care and compassion for each of us in the pains that we go through. This self-sacrificial death doesn’t just demonstrate empathy but actually leads us to his offer of redemption to any who will accept it (John 3:16).
In fact, God promises us that he would comfort us like a mother in Isaiah 66:13. Regardless of how many times we can remember being comforted by our mothers or even if we only witnessed others experiencing that comfort, God longs to comfort you. Our mothers are only human, and so inevitably will let us down or one day, like all humans, will pass on, but God’s comfort to us need never end. This mother’s day do take time to thank God for the gift of good times with your mum, whether that is in the distant past or enjoyed in the present but also remember the giver of all good gifts – God. It is God who longs for us to open ourselves up and invite his comfort.