Keeping the Sabbath Holy!
Sunday is God's gift to man! What do you do to keep it holy – to honor and respect God? This article is full of good ideas to get families started on a new weekly tradition.
Can you remember earlier days when Sundays were quite special: the family together at church, kids neatly dressed, a hearty noon meal, then a special excursion? Sunday was a loved day. Weekdays were work and school. Saturdays were chores and fun with friends. But Sunday started with reading the "funnies" on the living room floor as the sweet smell of pancakes filled the house. Then it was onward to the unique events of this special day.
Is this a dream gone by? Has it been replaced by a near nightmare of activities with everyone going in a different direction? That isn't the case if the family follows the Commandment of Moses: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." You don't have to believe for a minute that "holy" means "no fun." The fact is, to keep holy means to honor -- to hold "cherished", "blessed", "in first place". Sunday honors the seventh day of creation when God rested and reflected on his wonderful work. In light of the magnitude of creation, it seems like so little to spend a morning hour thanking God for His goodness manifested in one's life during the previous six days.
Keep youngsters focused on the benefits of Bible study with the highlight being Sunday. Ask each family member (and that includes you) to share just one helpful thing learned during the week. You can even do this on the way home from church. Decide how to put these good ideas into practice in the coming week.
You can also honor the Sabbath by building up to it during the week. This may take the form of daily home Bible study, reading at bedtime from a children's Bible, sharing a "thought for the day" at breakfast, striving to respond to challenges during the day as Jesus would do. Yes, "WWJD" [What Would Jesus Do?] mottoes are good learning tools. Did Jesus kick the person who pestered him for healing? Did Jesus disdain his parent's ideas? Did Jesus give up on his wayward disciples? Did Jesus say that a challenge was impossible?
But keeping Sunday wholly holy...just read the remainder of this fourth Commandment! Jesus believed that this special day belonged to God's child. He says in Mark (2:27) "The sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath." It is a gift made for us - treat it with care! Make it special in ways important to your family whether that means special foods or special activities, just being together as a family, or including others in your circle of love.
To keep the Sabbaths holy at your house, take turns (adults and children) being in charge of this holy day. This means total charge as long as church attendance is the morning focus. (You won't have any drop-outs if you establish with toddlers that Sunday School is a "given", so make the most of it.) Compliment your youngster when he says he'll make the picnic lunch and include friends. Or compliment your youngster when she chooses the place for the hike, or a book to read together, or a game before bed.
And when bedtime rolls around, start the tradition of each one in the family saying, "This day was holy because....."