Believing In Unicorns

Mother’s Day Sermon 2023


This Mother’s Day sermon celebrates the invaluable role of mothers in our lives. Mothers are not the idealized, perfect figures we often see on TV, but rather everyday heroes who make countless sacrifices for their children. They come in all shapes, sizes, and genders, and their labor, if quantified, would be valued at $162,581 a year. Despite their tremendous contribution, the most common gifts they receive are cards, phone calls, flowers, or meals. However, the sermon emphasizes that the best gift for a mother is a heartfelt expression of gratitude. It highlights the biblical example of Mary, mother of Jesus, who fully submitted to God’s will and remained devoted despite all hardships.

This sermon invites everyone to recognize the irreplaceable role of mothers, who, like the mythical unicorns, sparkle in their uniqueness and continue to believe in their children. It encourages us to express sincere thanks to our mothers, not just on Mother’s Day but every day, and reminds us that their love and legacy persist even after they are gone. Mothers, like the rare and valuable unicorns, should embrace their uniqueness and know that their sparkle does not go unnoticed. Happy Mother’s Day!


When I was just a young tot, I remember how television shows portrayed the average mother. She was that person who got dressed up every day in a pretty dress, curled her hair and donned the full face of makeup just to go to the grocery store. She was that mom that looked 100% on point every day. She was so amazing that unicorns had trouble believing she was real. 

Oh, how I dream she could be my mom, the perfect mom, a unicorn. To be clear, that was not my mom. My mom did not meet those stringent criteria, not even close. But I envied any child who was lucky enough to have such a mythical creature for a mother. 

Being a mom of any age or generation is difficult. A mother is a selfless, loving human being who sacrificed many of her needs and wants for the needs and the wants of her children and her family. She hands out hugs and kisses, helps raise you and loves you unconditionally. She works hard to make sure her children are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to make it as a competent human being in a complicated world. 

She is your rock and support system through the good, the bad, and the ugly moments of your life. But being the mom isn’t for the faint of heart. Mothering takes effort, physical, mental, and emotional. It’s tough work, but the rewards are significant. 

Mothers come in all shapes and sizes and even genders. There is no perfect mom, nor is there any cookie-cutter diagram of what a mother should be. Moms have a 24/7, 365-day commitment. Interestingly, research shows mothering should be valued at an annual salary of $162,581 a year. 

So this one special day, Mother’s Day, gives each of us the special opportunity to show our gratitude to our moms, stop moms, grandmothers, aunts, and other maternal figures in our lives. But instead of that six-figure salary, What do we give mom for her selfless dedication to us? We give her a greeting card. Can you believe this is the most popular gift for Mother’s Day with approximately 152 million cards sent? Big deal. Oh, yeah. 

Moms usually get a phone call, too. Reportedly, there are approximately 122 million calls made on the second Sunday of May every year, More calls than any other day of the year. And today, we can celebrate virtually with moms geographically distanced. Boring. 

And then there’s those awesome flowers and plants. After Christmas in Hanukkah, more people buy flowers and plants for their moms for Mother’s Day than any other day. You’re killing me. Well, how about eating out? Normally, Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants. 

Around 48% of the people make plans to go to a restaurant for Mother’s Day. What a deal. We feed her one day of the year and let her feed us the remaining 364 days. So for her estimated worth of $162,581 a year, She gets a card, a phone call, flowers, or a meal she doesn’t have to cook, or any combination of the above. 

That hardly seems fair, doesn’t it? However, the truth be told, material things are nice. But the best gift and the one mum probably values the most of all is a heartfelt thank you and a genuine expression of appreciation for all that she has and continues to do or has done for you. We should celebrate Mother’s Day every day, not just once a year. So take time to thank her often. 

I have the highest respect and admiration for anyone God has blessed to be a mother. There are few assignments in the human experience that require an array of skills and wisdom needed by a mom fulfilling her everyday duties. Moms must be a resident psychologist, physician, theologian, educator, nurse, chef, taxi driver, fire marshal, and occasional police officer. And if she succeeds in each of these responsibilities, She gets to do it all again tomorrow. 

I’m also one that is amazed at the way God designed mothers. It is said that a unicorn doesn’t stand around and worry about what the other unicorns are saying of it or think of it. It just sparkles. Isn’t that what moms do? Moms just sparkle. 

Mothering is a lifelong job. My wife Elaine is an incredible mom. I am in awe of her ability to nurture our children still today as she did when they were young. But you know what? According to the Bible, there is a lot more to being a good mom than simply making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the crust. 

There is more than applying a Spider-Man bandage or washing the hair without getting soapy water in the eyes. Yes, these are the physical demands on mothers, but biblically, there are spiritual demands as well. And without question, the spiritual needs of children are even greater than the physical needs. God has called moms to pass on more than a good recipe book or a skill in how to load a dishwasher. 

Moms are called on to pass on the things of God. One day, the children of the family circus were discussing where babies come from. One of the young experts, Billy, announced, “Storks don’t bring babies. They come UPS.” Youngest Jeffrey had a different idea, but Dolly, the daughter, spoke the most insightful comment of all. 

Babies are connected to their mothers by their biblical cord, which brings me to one remarkable biblical mother. When Mary was just a teenager, she was confronted with a challenge to be completely submitted to God’s will. When Gabriel gave her the angelic message that she was to carry the Christ child, Mary was stunned. The key phrase, I am the Lord’s servant. 

May it be. Through the years, Mary never wavered from her complete submission to God’s will. Was she nervous? Certainly. Was she unsure of her own abilities? Who wouldn’t be? Was she anxious about the prophecy that part of her future would include pain? Of course. 

Mary was like any other mom in this room who wanted only the best for their child. She understood full well that all of life is not pleasant. And she was completely aware that life happens. She was so committed to God that she had no room for commitment to anything else. 

And that makes her a mother worth imitating. Like moms of today, the fact that she was the mother of Jesus, Mary wasn’t perfect. Remember when Jesus performed his first miracle? Mary’s conversation is the most unusual part of this water-to-wine story. Jesus said to Mary, woman, why do you involve me? It’s not my time. 

Think of the awkwardness of that situation. Mary’s request and conversation with Jesus appears to be out of line with what Jesus was ready to do. And even though Jesus performed the miracle, there’s a feeling that he did so, in part, because his mother put him on the spot. If Mary understood the task of Jesus, would she have tried to interrupt him, or even agree that his ministry needed to be tempered? Was it Mary’s mistake not to stop the ministry of Jesus, even for a little while? Fast forward. 

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother. Mary did not stand there stoically and passively by at the foot of the cross, as she is usually portrayed in stained glass windows. No, she crumpled at the cross. She fell down to the depths there, moaning and wailing and begging the God of her heaven to stop her hell on earth. 

The truth of Simeon’s prophecy at the birth of Jesus suddenly became true. The cross cut deeply in the Mary’s heart. Despite the pain, Mary was there. She was a devoted mother from the beginning and a faithful mother to the end. 

A mother called by God never relinquishes her title. You’ll find mothers like that in the halls of Children’s hospitals, in funeral homes, in counselors’ offices, and under the rarest of circumstances, giving up their child for adoption. It is sacrificial. It is painful. 

But it is a loving moment of care. Mothers never relinquish the title. Even if the child is rebellious, harsh, or cruel, her heart just won’t allow it. Not when she is called by God. 

So when a woman becomes a mother, there is an instant realization that the day will almost certainly come when pain dominates the picture. The crosses are different for every family. But frankly, the crosses usually come. There may be a divorce or disease or death. 

There may be harsh words or unacceptable actions. There may be tough love and impossible nights. Through it all, mothers called by God never relinquish the title, never. The mother’s love is as rare as a unicorn. 

Mary had a chance to see God’s entire plan play out. She suffered through the crucifixion, celebrated the resurrection, and even was a part of the small group that witness the powerful presentation of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. What a gift from God to live long enough for parodying to make sense. Even more of a blessing is that some parents live long enough to see God’s plan for their children and their grandchildren. 

But for others, God reveals his plans only from the halls of heaven. There are so many solid principles for parroting in the Bible no mom or parent can afford not to know them. Sure mom you’ve made motherly mistakes in the past you’ll certainly make a mistake or two today and you’ll probably make more mistakes tomorrow. Through it all God will love you, work with you, and accept you as he did with your mom and her mom before. 

Through it all the task of mothering or a grandmothering is accomplished by the grace of God. And even though your mother may be physically gone, she is still here. Your relationship isn’t over. It’s just changed. 

A mother called by God never really enclashes her title. What makes your mom different makes her beautiful. As Robert Brault said, “Enjoy the little things in life because someday you’ll realize they were the big things. Unicorns have rare qualities and great value. 

So whether your mom is near, geographically distanced, or has gone on to glory, take a moment today to sincerely thank her for what she does for you or has done for you. You may have stopped believing in unicorns, but she has never stopped believing in you. So mom don’t stand around and worry about what others think of you. Just sparkle and know that your sparkle has not gone unnoticed. 

You are a child of God. You are a limited edition. You are that unicorn that one in a million. Embrace your uniqueness. 

Happy Mother’s Day. Amen.