Ahh, the Sabbath day! How nice it is to take a break from teaching school, from big meal prep, from doing housework or shopping. I think God gave us a great gift by establishing a day of rest. I sure need it!
The culture we live in has pretty much eliminated that idea of a sabbath day of rest. You have to create your own culture if you want to make Sunday a day of renewal in your family. Here are things we do at my house to make Sunday special. We all keep Sunday differently, but maybe it will give you some ideas to think about:
Simplify food prep
You can get just as much nutrition from a sandwich with lots of veggies on it as a elaborate meal. If your traditions include a full Sunday banquet, try loading up your crock-pot the night before and stashing it in the fridge along with a salad. You can still have a nice hot Sunday dinner.
Take a break from schoolwork
Take a break! It can be hard for college students to set aside their books when a big test it coming up on Monday. When my son Mark used to pay the piano in competitions, his teacher had him take a day off the day before the competition. While his opponents were putting in a 12-hour-practice days, Mark was relaxing. It didn’t seem wise, but made sense to me eventually, when I saw the results. There is wisdom in doing all you can to prepare ahead of time, then giving the mind a rest so it performs better on the day of the performance! Maybe schoolwork operates the same way.
Focus on spiritual things. Take the freed-up time to read the scriptures, talk deeply with family members, visit the sick, write in your journal, plan the week, have personal interviews with your children, sing together, rest and relax, and do all those other meaningful things that a busy week shoves out.
Give your housework a day of rest
Although it isn’t fun to have a messy house, it definitely is fun to have a day off! Helps refresh you and sends you back to your work with renewed vigor! Dishes can wait. Most everything else can too. It will restore and refresh you to take a day off from everything that does not require immediate attention. Diapers need to be changed. ; 0 )
I like to start Sunday morning by putting on a CD of hymn music. It sets the stage and invites more quiet, reverent thoughts. Even the little ones feel a difference in the day.
Wear nice clothes
I am not advocating staying in nylons or a necktie all day long, but isn’t it helpful to have the visual reminder that this is the Lord’s day? We seem to remember and act better, and focus on God when we wear nicer clothes. This can be as simple as wearing a washable skirt and top, or dress. It can be practical but still make it a difference. Kids notice that you aren’t in your work clothes, and they expect Sunday activities.
Stop the electronic entertainment
How nice to have a quiet day where the family and conversation and just being together are not pre-empted by the TV or movies. It makes us all more available to each other and gives us snatches of that delicious peace and relaxation that often is not part of the weekdays.
When I had wee ones, I kept a “Sunday box”. This was just an empty cardboard apple box with lid from the produce section of the grocery store that I decorated with pictures on the outside. You could use a nice plastic bin or whatever you want. In the Sunday box were toys that I only allowed the children to play with on Sunday. I kept the box up on a shelf where the kids could see it and look forward to opening on Sunday. If I bought a new toy (or a used toy at a yard sale), it would make its first appearance in the Sunday box. There were books about Jesus, and religious games, but also a construction toy, drawing supplies, dolls, little cars, puzzles, and other toys. I would rotate the toys so it was always a fun surprise. It also contained a snack. When I wanted an hour to write in my journal or relax, I’d pull down the Sunday Box. It was a source of constant surprise, and kept the kids playing contentedly for a stretch each Sunday.
So What’s Left?
We are so accustomed to filling our life up, that it might feel like a void come Sunday morning. If you keep in mind that Sunday is supposed to be a “day of rest”, it helps come up with ideas. Here’s some things to do on Sunday that will refresh and renew you!
- go for a walk
- visit family
- write in your journal
- visit neighbors, friends
- write letters or cards
- read a book
- take a nap
- think about God
- read picture books to kids
- put together a puzzle
- make a phone call to grandparents or other relatives
- write your own personal history story (even a few paragraphs each Sunday)
- get down on the floor and play with your kids and their toys
- have one-on-one talks
- have a family discussion or lesson on a virtue that you’d like to develop more
- draw, paint, sketch (see my short watercolor journaling video)
- read family histories to connect with your ancestors
- write letters to missionaries or servicemen
- look at home movies or family photo books
- think about your goals and dreams
- plan the week, thinking of ways to implement your goals
- read the scriptures
- listen to music (different from the type you listen to all week
- visit someone in the hospital or in prison
- have someone over for a simple meal (crockpot prepped ahead is easy)
- research ways to resolve a problem
- sing together as a family for fun
- play musical instruments
- take some quickie family photos and text or email or snapchat them to those you love
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Exodus 20: 8-11)
Have a wonderful Sunday!
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