Genesis 2:3, “And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.’
Hebrews 4:10, “…for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.”
Celebrating or reverencing the Lord’s Day has fallen out of favor among professing believers. In a misguided effort to avoid legalism many Christians don’t think that keeping Sunday as a special day is an important issue. Is it?
As our family has made the day of worship a priority we have discovered rich blessing. “Losing” a day of work for a day of rest and worship has not hurt us at all. Instead, we find that the God has “redeemed” the remaining six days of the week and stretched our time so that we get more accomplished!
So how do we “hallow”(or “set apart”) Sunday. Yes, we believe that Sunday is the day that was ordained for worship and should be set apart for that use if possible but I won’t be arguing that here).
Here’s what has worked for our family (and, more specifically for me…since I, generally, oversee what goes on in our home). I want to give a round of hearty applause to Karen Burton Mains and her book Making Sunday Special which helped transform the way I approached Sunday many years ago.
1. We recognize that it is a day set apart for worshiping together with God’s people. Christianity is not just “me and my Jesus.” We cannot read the whole counsel of the Holy Scriptures without understanding that it is a message to the church! It goes without saying that to commit to a church you must be willing to be under the leadership of other Christian men.
So plan ahead to meet with other believers, take communion, worship and be taught by the word of God.
2.Prepare ahead of time. For a large family this may mean starting early in the week.
For our family with the never shrinking laundry pile, I try to have Sunday clothes washed, ironed and ready to wear by Wednesday. Yes, that’s early, but time flies after the middle of the week and I often forget. I really hate that frantic late night Saturday night feeling as I paw wildly through the laundry pile trying to find some clean clothes!
Having the Sunday clothes clean and ironed early works for us.
For our family with many teens preparing ahead also means making sure to get to bed at a decent hour on Saturday night. This can be hard because everyone wants to have fun on Saturday night but staying awake and alert during Sunday worship is high on our priority list.
3. Plan to break bread together as a family (and, if possible, with other believers). This takes work!
The meal doesn’t have to be fancy but it should be satisfying and (if possible) something a little special should “set apart” that meal from other days.
a.For a family with small children or one who travels a distance to church, a hearty stew put in the crockpot to cook during church makes a nice meal to come home to. It is wonderful to walk into the house and smell the aroma of something yummy. Some special muffins to accompany it may set it apart or, perhaps, this will be the day that you will decide to have dessert once a week.
b. For a family who is heavily involved in the church a Saturday night meal may be the kick-off to your day of rest on Sunday. You can enjoy a special meal, clean it all up on Saturday night and arrive home to a clean house and a simple meal of cheese and fruit after church on Sunday. I know Pastors who do this.
c.Some families love a “Sabbath breakfast” to enjoy before church. They feel that it begins their special day with a bang.
Whatever you choose to do don’t do what I have done; skip planning any meal at all! When my family comes in the door after church everyone is cranky and hungry. It is a big let-down to have to scrounge through the fridge to find something to eat!
I must add that for Sunday to be a day of rest for me I really love to come home from church to a decently clean house. So for our family that means grabbing as many of us as I can on a Friday or Saturday and cleaning hard for several hours…and if we happen to get the van cleaned and vacuumed we have reached the pinnacle of preparation!
4.Keep treats and surprises to a minimum during the week so that they can be enjoyed on Sunday. Some people eat chocolate only on Sunday or keep a “Sabbath box” of special toys and occasionally add new “surprises” just for Sunday. This creates a sense of anticipation and joy in our family that Sunday is special. It is God’s day of rest!
We want our children to grow up with sweet memories of Sundays. All the preparation in the world is for nought if your family’s day of worship is permeated with the smelly aroma of an angry and impatient mother who is exhausted with the many tasks that come with motherhood.
Oh that we may make the Lord’s Day a day of joy and thanksgiving and sweet fellowship with other believers.