No, no, I’m not embracing Judaism. And these aren’t baby names, although they do both start with “s” and may have been in the running at one point (actually, I mentioned Shalom and was vetoed. Vehemently.) The entire week through, I am excited for Sunday. It’s our rest day, it’s a day that is sacred to our family. I’ve been thinking about it more lately as I have felt a huge frenzy overtake me and our household. It’s been welcome, believe me. I have been nesting like a crazy Birdie Mama, and cleaning every square inch, organizing, decluttering, finishing, well, you get the picture. I’ve been filling the freezer with meals, planning lessons for schooling, spending one on one time with the kids. And boy, do I feel great. Our next blessing is set to arrive mid March, so this nesting bug is hitting kind of early, but I am sure not complaining! I am in gravid heaven. So what does this have to do with Sunday? Well, I don’t want to stop, I want to keep going. I feel my time is running out, and after March I will never get to organize a drawer again, let alone plan something in advance. Obviously, this isn’t true, our family will grow and expand, making room for one more. I may get less done the first little while, but we’ll steadily make changes. So why is it so hard to stop what I am doing for one day a week? Why does it matter?
Well, I’ll start with why it matters to us. This is actually the fourth commandment, of the ten that were handed to Moses on Mount Sinai. A lot of people would say that we are no longer “bound to the law,” that Jesus cancelled all that. But I know that He fulfilled the law, not necessarily abolishing it. Looking at the multitudes of laws in the Old Testament is enough to make anyone fear that they will never get it, and mercy, there’s laws on everything! Hokey doodle, I am glad that I don’t have to follow every single one. But I do know that there is meaning behind the laws, and that they have the wisdom of God behind them. So where is the line between “legalistic,” and Bible following?
Last week in church, a beautiful man spoke right into my heart. I can say he is beautiful because he is over 80, and you can see Jesus in His face. He mentioned, and I’m not saying this word for word because I lost my bulletin, that part of grace is understanding what was done for you, and wanting to do the best you can for Him. Not because you won’t go to heaven if you don’t, but because you just want to do what He asks. I loved that. Spoke to my heart completely.
So, what sets our Sundays apart from other days? In our family, we only do what brings rest to our souls and bodies. Obviously, that’s different from one person to another. I’ll tell you my day:
1. Get up, bathe the kids in an assembly line of lather, toys and water guns, get myself ready, keep the chi straightener out of their reach, notice that all their clothes are now soaked. Get dry ones. Put towels on the floor to mop up spills of tea kettles on the side of the tub. Tell them to stop drinking the bath water.
2. Make a good breakfast. This is my best breakfast day, because we usually have company over before church, and have extended standing invitations to a few others. So I never know who’s coming, but it always works out. So, visiting while preparing breakfast, trying the keep the kitchen in decent order.
3. Get all the people out of the house to church on time. ‘Nuf said.
4. Church, which is usually a couple hours. We do have lunch there, which is a blessing for me, because I don’t have to make it. We go every week, because if our kids fall out of routine, we all have a hard time getting back to where we are. Handsome Hubby and I like it because we get time to just “be” in the Spirit. We get filled up, get to hear from our Lord, and get to just rest in His presence. At the luncheon after, I love it because I get to see Real. Live. People. I Love to be able to visit, and be refreshed by others.
5. This is when the real magic happens, folks. This is the Afternoon. I get a nap, with our sweet, second son. This is a great time, because while I am “sleeping” he sings little songs, pokes me in the eye, and kisses my cheek before he falls asleep beside me. I love this time with him! The HH plays poker, watches sports, or TV, or lays on the couch with our Big Kid. The pretty one has a nap, also. If for some reason naps will not work, we do nothing. The HH and I will snuggle on the couch watching TV with the kids, or I’ll read, but generally, we do not move around a whole lot. With three kids under 5, somehow this is not only possible, but it is expected. The afternoon is very quiet (compared to the other days of the week, not necessarily my grandmother’s house!)
6. Dinnertime! Time for culinary delights that accentuate the palate. Or soup from the freezer. Usually during the week, I’ll freeze something extra so that I don’t have to make anything. Or we have leftovers or something from the fridge. I rarely cook. Sometimes we eat processed foods. Don’t tell anyone.
7. Family fun. We dance, play games, jump on the bed, do all sorts of crazy stuff. We get to just “be.” We aren’t on the phone, we are relaxed, we aren’t thinking about anything. We get to just be with each other, and the kids. Do not call at this time. Well, you can, we just won’t answer.
And that’s generally our day. There is a lot of things we don’t do.
We won’t work, and that has been important to us since our dating days: even in ON we were able to say at all our jobs that working on Sundays was against what we believe, and against our faith. And it was almost always accepted. One thing’s for sure, you say the word “discrimination” and people take you seriously. We never got a Saturday off, mind you, but we have always had Sundays off.
We won’t shop. If we are away and it can’t be avoided, we will, and we did get gas a couple months ago (my fault) but those times have been few and far between. Our rationale is why make someone have to work to serve us? Yes, yes those people will be working anyways. But why be one of the customers for which the business caters to, at the sacrifice of its employees? As a teen, this one was hard because often my friends would go out, from youth group, and do fun stuff. Or I know of families that go out for lunch together or whatever. Good for them, that’s great! I don’t think it’s wrong, we just don’t. I don’t want to make people work for me.
At this time in my life, I don’t do “My Work.” I will load up the dishwasher, and straighten up before church, but that’s it. And if you have more than one child, you know that the day accumulates a lot of stuff. I don’t do the dishes, I don’t do laundry. I don’t straighten. Wherever a toy falls, there it lays, till Monday. And let me tell you, when I get up Monday morning, it feels so good to put everything to rights again. I feel refreshed, and actually wanting to get everything back where it should be, instead of doing it out of duty or habit. Now, I just sit, and marvel at what this house would look like if I ever went away. . . . In saying this, I hope that when my days aren’t full of monotonous work, my Sundays will be different. I knew a beautiful, wonderful lady at my old church, who would make a big dinner each week, down to the bone china, and then invite three random couple or families for dinner. This was rest for her; and certainly all who visited her table were rested when they left. I would love to do that! The thought now breaks me into a cold sweat, but her weekdays were vastly different than mine. That brings me to my next point.
We won’t get bogged down by rules. If you understand the rationale behind the fourth commandment, then you understand that the Sabbath is a day to rest. God rested when He made the world. He didn’t need to; He’s God. But He did. So we do. I think the point is to rest our bodies, physically, and to consecrate the day to Him however we can. I think it looks different to everyone else. Does it have to be Sunday? I don’t think so, I think we could give Him another day each week if we had to. I know it was originally Saturday. Does it matter to me? Nope. I know, without checking the calendar or even thinking twice that Sunday is His day in our home. To spend time with Him, be filled up by Him, and to rest the bodies that He made so purposefully. What if we get invited out? Why not do something “fun” for the family? We are very careful in planning, only because we are very busy people. And we do A LOT as a family. My HH and I are both super energetic go-getters, and we want to do fun stuff all the time. I think this is the main reason why we haven’t “burnt out,” or are able to do what we do on a daily basis. We know our day of rest is coming. One day our “rest” will be to visit, or have people over, or go do something super fun outside. But at this point, with our little children, we need to sit. Uninterruptedly. Do I think you have to go to church every week, and take a Sabbath in order to go to Heaven? Mercy, no. But I am so thankful that it is a commandment.
I cherish this time. I am so thankful that the God who made me so wonderfully and fearfully knew that I needed this “rule.” I need Someone to say to me, “Now you rest.” I remember my mom saying, as she put us to bed at night when we complained, “I WISH someone would put me to bed!” I never understood this till being a mom, with a neverending list of neverending lists, with baskets that are rarely empty and hands that are always full. I am so glad that each week, I feel the Lord telling me, “Go to bed.” He knew what He was doing.
Oh yeah, and Shabbat Shalom means simply, “Have a peaceful Sabbath.” May you find peace in the Lord sometime this week, or today, and if you already do, may you thank God that He commands it, and wants it, from you.