This post for our House of God series focuses on one of the most basic, possibly overlooked, things we can do to create our own houses of God, celebrating the Sabbath Day! Even as a little girl, I really liked Sundays. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir was always heard resounding throughout our house, and I enjoyed going to Sunday school and spending time with my family. Those feelings of love for the Sabbath have always been important to me.
However, last year I noticed I wasn’t relishing in the Sabbath like I once did. Sunday had become somewhat of a day of survival. My husband had early (and late) meetings and I was left to get the kids and myself ready, my lesson prepared, snacks and activities for the kids to do during church, friends picked up… the list goes on and on… and at times my attitude turned into, “just get through the day.” The Sabbath did not always feel like I day of rest; it felt stressful. I knew these feelings were not right and I wanted to change, but didn’t really know how. I couldn’t excuse myself from my Sabbath responsibilities.
Then I came upon one of my church leader’s, Russell M. Nelson, talks entitled “The Sabbath is a Delight.” In it he referenced a POWERFUL scripture (Ezekial 20:12) and his commentary was, “ I learned from the scriptures that my conduct and my attitude on the Sabbath constituted a sign between me and my Heavenly Father. With that understanding, I no longer needed lists of dos and don’ts. When I had to make a decision whether or not an activity was appropriate for the Sabbath, I simply asked myself, “What sign do I want to give to God?” That question made my choices about the Sabbath day crystal clear.” As I pondered over these words, it was like a weight had lifted off my shoulders! My activities on the Sabbath didn’t have to be complicated or frustrating – they just had to be consistent with my love toward God and His Son Jesus Christ.
Now I’m going to change gears for just a minute – and I promise it will make sense in the end! Picture this…it’s your Birthday! You wake up and start to make breakfast as one by one, each family member comes into the kitchen and goes about their everyday routine. The kids head off on the bus, you kiss your husband good-bye, and the house gets quiet. As you spend the rest of the day with the little ones feeding, cleaning, running, and all the rest of the day-to-day tasks, you start to feel a little forgotten. “Hmm,” you think, “maybe they are pretending they don’t know it’s my birthday because they have a surprise party planned!” That must be it. So you go about the rest of your day thinking of what they must be planning. Then comes the chaos of kids coming home, homework, dinner…and still nothing. Then there’s bed time routine and before you know it the house is quiet and your husband is tired and says he needs to get to bed early that night. So you prepare a bubble bath and soak your woes away, feeling totally forgotten and unappreciated. It was your day, and you were forgotten. Feels pretty rotten right? Well guess what friends – the Lord has a day too. And He wants us to celebrate it! He asked us to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” However, unlike us, God’s disappointment wouldn’t stem from feelings of being forgotten, they would be because of our lost opportunity to draw closer to Him, learn of Him, and have His spirit to be with us. Remember, “the Sabbath was made for Man, and not man for the Sabbath.” God created this Day for US to remember HIM for our own benefit. Again from Elder Nelson’s talk, “He wanted us to understand that the Sabbath was His gift to us, granting real respite from the rigors of daily life and an opportunity for spiritual and physical renewal. God gave us this special day, not for amusement or daily labor but for a rest from duty, with physical and spiritual relief.”