When my mom was growing up, they kept the Sabbath strictly. They went to two services and Sunday school in the morning, went home to a simple meal for lunch, slept the afternoon away and then went back to church in the evening. Nothing else happened on a Sunday.
When I was growing up, things were relaxed quite a bit. We didn't strictly keep the Sabbath but Sunday was always a church day, we usually went to Grandma's for lunch and there was always an afternoon nap. We didn't know why Sunday was different than other days but it was.
A few years ago, when Dh and I were first married, we started keeping a kind of Sabbath of our own. We hadn't been working all that long and the load was very heavy and we were TIRED. We wanted to make the Sabbath special in some way and what we decided to do was to make it a "quiet" day - no t.v., no computers, no "must do" work, no shopping and limited phone calls. We spent it doing church in the morning and then spending time together - we played games, went for walks or hikes, went to spend part of the day with family, cooked special meals, etc. We came to really love it and when we were doing it, I found that Monday was less painful - I went into the week more centred and relaxed.
I don't know when we stopped our Sabbath rest tradition. I think it just gradually got sucked under by the pace of life and all that we found pressing. Home ownership brought a new list of jobs and now with children, one day tends to feel a bit like another. I find myself craving those quiet Sundays more and more.
Not too long ago, I read the book "The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan. It really, really spoke to me. I find myself craving rest and not just sleep but rest of an emotional, spiritual kind. A quiet cup of tea with a book for an hour, a nap without guilt, a walk with the family, a meal that doesn't feel like an effort (fancy Sunday dinners were something we were trying and I have to say, for me, at least, that makes Sunday LESS of a day of rest). There is so little rest in my life these days and this book really inspired me. It helped me to remember that rest comes in many different forms and the rest that God is offering us is not a punishment but a wonderful gift, all the more so in a world as fast paced as the one we live in now.
At this point, I am pondering what form that Sabbath rest will take in our home. Of course, Sunday begins with church and will probably include a nap for the foreseeable future (lovely!). I want the day to be special, though, a day that stands out for all of us as being something to treasure. I am not entirely sure of what form that will take but there are a few things I have already decided:
1. Sunday is not a day for shopping or errands - anything out of the house should be about fellowship and activities that help us to recharge and enjoy, things that don't have an obligation tied to them.
2. I want Sunday to be a day that has significance for my children, too. Not a day that we are forced to be bored and quiet but a day that does stand out as being different. Today, I set a rule that the music we listen to needs to be Christian and the books we read need to have a focus on our faith. Pk seems to have enjoyed it quite a bit - we got out some stories that we haven't read in a while and we had a nice cuddle and read this morning. I think I will try to plan some other special things to make Sunday stand out but things that also don't end up being a bit burden to me, either.
If you have any Sabbath suggestions, I would love to hear them. I don't want to turn this into a day of obligation but a day that helps us to go into the week recharged and aware of what means most to us. I want this day to be a gift!