I have thought a lot about the Sabbath Day over the last year or so. To be honest, I should have focused on it long before that. For so many years when our children were younger and my husband was at church long hours on Sunday, I would look at the Sabbath as a day to keep the children from killing each other!
We would spend time baking cookies, watching church-themed videos, spending time with extended family, playing games and even jumping on the trampoline for a bit just to keep everyone alive! I am not here to say what of this was right and good and what is not. I am simply telling you how it went for us most Sundays. For so many years it was survival, as we usually were inside, not playing with friends, trying to do reverent things.
Recent reminders about the Sabbath Day
Over the past several years we have had another “push” from the brethren to keep the Sabbath Day Holy. I think we have all recognized it. This year we are focusing 6 lessons of the year in Relief Society and Priesthood to honoring the Sabbath Day. I take this as a clear warning from our leaders that we must put more thought and preparation into our Sabbath Day Observance.
There are things I love to do on the Sabbath that the rest of my family doesn’t enjoy as much as I do. For me this post is needed as much as for anyone else. This will take a great effort on the part of parents to make this happen like it should. I have always felt like the Sabbath was a day of “rest” from our regular duties but not necessarily a day of rest in the way we see rest. When we are serving in busy callings, Sunday is a day of ministering and teaching, not a day where we catch up on sleep!
Questions to ask ourselves about our Sabbath Day observance
As parents I think we need to look at it that way. How can we make this day different from the rest of the week? What do we need to do to prepare for it on Saturday? We probably all remember the primary song “Saturday Is A Special Day.” What are we doing Saturday to prepare for the Sabbath?
I am not an organized person and there is definitely room for improvement here. I think for most of us, Sunday is for sure a day when we can gather with family together for a Sunday Meal. I can definitely get this prepared the day before. I remember President Kimball saying at one point that they used paper plates on Sunday so that it would be less dishes to do-I am all for that ANY DAY! I think the key to this is not getting into the details of what we should and should not do but how we can feel the Spirit the most by being prepared for this special day.
What changes do we need to make to our observance of the Sabbath Day
In our home there are things we need to change. Get homework done Friday and Saturday so it is not a burden on the Sabbath. Keep technology at a minimum and keep it focused on Sabbath things. The church has made such an effort to keep up with technology. There are hundreds of videos that can be downloaded, General Conference talks to watch and listen to, magazines to read in your home or online. The Book of Mormon can be listened to through so many means-I love asking “Alexa” to read me my daily Book of Mormon reading! There are blogs to help us with scripture study. We are blessed to live in a day where this is all so readily available.
Ways to help my family better observe the Sabbath Day
When our kids were younger we would have a theme for each month. If you did that, your Sundays could be focused around that theme. Right now for Family Home Evening we are studying the Doctrinal Core Mastery in the Seminary Manual. As I write this, I am thinking we can begin our week, focused on that principle beginning on Sunday. Have a couple of questions to get the kids thinking a long with some scriptures to look up and study so that when FHE rolls around they have already spent time thinking and learning about this doctrine on their own. If your kids are little, it would be something you could do together.
Doctrine: The Restoration
Questions to ask/discuss:
Joseph Smith had questions. He turned to God for answers. What are questions you have about the gospel or principles of the gospel?
Where do you feel like you can go to get those questions answered? (Where in the scriptures? Is there someone specific who can help you?)
Can you relate to how Joseph Smith felt during his time of questioning?
Why was it important to have a restoration of ALL things and what were those things?
Joseph Smith History
Introduction to The Book of Mormon
For younger kids
When the weather is appropriate-especially in spring and summer-even fall, take a nature walk and talk about God’s creations. There are several scripture references you can use:
In the Fall you can collect leaves and do a project. In the spring and summer pick some wildflowers and press them in a book!
I know that obedience is the first law of heaven and that as we are exactly obedient to our Heavenly Father’s will to keep the Sabbath Day holy, we will be blessed in ways we cannot imagine. I believe that we will be able to be more productive during the week and become closer to our families on the Sabbath.