Sunday, February 24, 2008

Joyful Sabbath--Is it even possible with three small children?

The recent worldwide leadership training meeting on February 9 on the topic of "Building up a righteous posterity" gave me a lot of food for thought. (You can listen, watch, or read transcripts now from the Church's website.) One part in particular made an impression on both my husband and me:
Elder Holland: Could I make a plea to our group and to the larger Church that we do everything possible to reclaim the joy of the Sabbath. I don’t know that we could do more to enhance family unity in the Church than to enjoy Sunday fully. And we do enjoy it. I enjoy it. As busy as I am, I live for Sunday. But the early scriptural declarations, I’m thinking particularly clear back into the Old Testament, up to and including our own Doctrine and Covenants pronouncements, have been about the joy of the Sabbath, the joy of worship, and the delight of the Sabbath. Surely we can do better at having a Sabbath together.
Too often for me Sunday is not a joyful day. All our schedules are messed up--missed naps (thank goodness for 9am church this year!), cranky children, long meetings, extra responsibilities, etc, etc, etc. I rarely get anything out of sacrament meeting (three children under five), and although I adore my calling, I don't get any gospel instruction time. Usually I can't wait to put the kids in bed (is 6pm too early?), and veg in front of my computer for the rest of the evening. I go to my meetings, I do my visiting teaching, and I try not to let the kids watch TV or play outside with friends. But a joyful Sabbath it is not.

After the leadership training meeting, my husband and I vowed to do better. Naturally the next week he was called as the Elders' Quorum President. But, interestingly enough, even though he has more meetings on Sunday, we have had a series of marvelous Sabbath days. We've had Grandma and Grandpa over for dinner (they're going on a mission soon), we've played games, written letters, told gospel and non-gospel stories, had a "picnic" dinner in the living room, taken naps (a personal favorite). It's been a joy to spend so much fun time with my family.

Don't get me wrong. Sacrament meeting is still a struggle (last week was mortifying--my children were so loud multiple people turned around to give me sympathetic looks; we have an understanding ward!), the kids still don't like to nap, and we're still barred from going on walks by the weather. But I've enjoyed the last three Sundays more than any for the last year, at least. I hope we can keep it up--it certainly does prepare me for the coming week.


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  • I have to admit that today I was really wondering if it is even worth going to church on Sunday. Our boys have been that rotten. Today I had to take our 3 year old to class with me as I taught the valiant 11's. He simply would not go to class and wanted to go back to nursery.

    I hope that someday we can get to where someday Sunday is a joy and truely a day of rest.

    By Blogger Jared, at 2/24/2008 8:16 PM  

  • The Sabbath is a day of rest -- a day of rest for OUR labors, not from the LORD's labors. I have been where Jared was yesterday, and it's not fun. But then I think about what Jesus would have done in that situation. Like Jared did, He likely would have taken the three-year-old with him despite the distraction.

    A friend of my wife's reported that one Sacrament meeting was particularly trying with her young family. Her husband was on the stand, and although she had help from a kindly sister that was an empty nester, she wondered how she had survived the meeting. She hadn't heard any coherent portion of any of the talks and had felt like beating children during the administration of the Sacrament.

    The older sister, the wife of the stake president, helped her out to the lobby with the children, and then said, "Don't worry. You're doing the right thing. We have seven children and my husband has been in leadership callings nearly our whole married life. I didn't get anything out of a single church meeting for at least 29 years. But today I can see the blessings of just having been with my children in the right place at the right time."

    Orson Scott Card wrote an article titled Does Civilization Begin in Sacrament Meeting? I commend it to anyone with young children.

    Thanks to my wonderful wife, we established patterns of what we thought ought to happen on the Sabbath when our children were very young. She has kept this up even when I have had heavy assignments on Sundays. Let me be the first to say that we're far from perfect at it. But let me also say that as our older children progress into their teen years, they actively, almost subconsciously, help us keep to those patterns. They help socialize the younger kids into those patterns. Sundays aren't perfect, but they are the best day of the week in our home.

    By Blogger Scott Hinrichs, at 2/25/2008 11:23 AM  

  • Sunday can be pretty tough in fact one Sunday as I was talking loudly {yelling}to my kids that they need to obey me and hurry when I say hurry.(We were in the car) I reached down to make sure my song book didn't fall from the seat as I did this I rear ended someone and was late for church. No one was hurt but I did realize one thing I needed to slow down. The Lord had to stop me and he did. With young kids I find it hard to "Stand Still and know that I am" But if I can try even if it's just for one minute, I can grab a little something from my meetings. Then I try to take it back home in some small way. It is a process and it's slowly coming together. Joy and happiness come with great persistance.

    By Blogger Skip Ross, at 2/27/2008 9:15 PM  

  • The Sabbath according to the Bible is Saturday and not Sunday. Exodus 20:8-11. This is a day set aside by God made holy at creation and is a memorial of creation. Sunday was instituted by man and not God. Math 28:1 shows that after Sabbath (Saturday) on ressurection Sunday (first day of the week), Jesus arose. If one talks about a joyful sabbath one is not being truthful if it is on Sunday. It is not God's.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/06/2009 8:18 AM  

  • Anon, sorry I missed your comment when it originally came through. I appreciate your concern about the placement of the Sabbath among the seven days. It is my position that God may alter the situation at any time He pleases. It appears that he continues to permit His people to worship on Sunday, regardless of the past placement of the Sabbath. Latter-day Saints worship on Sunday in most countries, but according to local custom may also worship on Saturday or Friday. The message I get from the living prophet is that reserving one day in seven is the kernel of the commandment. Which day that is may be unimportant in the larger scheme of things.

    By Blogger Bradley Ross, at 12/21/2009 10:01 AM  

  • Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/03/2010 9:34 AM  

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