about a couple of weeks ago it hit me that all of our days run together.  and setting aside that there are two little boys and a newborn, i noticed omar and i were tired.  it was a tiredness that existed regardless of the kids.  a little light bulb clicked on and i realized that during most weeks, we have nothing that even resembles a sabbath – a day of actual resting.

but if there is something i’m really good at it’s trying again (this sabbath post from a couple of years ago was round 2 in trying to figure out our family’s sabbath).  i’m hoping this next week will be a reorienting one for me and omar.  we’ve already started talking about what we want to do and not do on our sabbath.  and for us, we have to figure out when our sabbath will be.

i’m rereading lynne baab’s sabbath keeping (highly recommend), and i pulled the sabbath edition of the christian reflection journal off the shelf.  the interview with dorothy bass helped orient me to what the sabbath is on a large scale – it’s about much more than my own personal rest:

Let’s remember that six days of work are the counterpart to the sabbath.  Work is good, for it allows us to take part in God’s own care of the world.  Christians should be concerned about people who don’t have any work at all, as well as about those who are forced to work more than six days each week.  Sabbath practice has justice implications, concerning the fact that many people have so little to say about the basic economic shape of their lives.  We cannot allow ourselves to be smug if we’re privileged enough to be able to choose which day to take for rest.  God calls us to help make the world a place where everyone can have good work and rest. p. 80

and the personal sabbath story (bowling on the sabbath) of a couple with three young kids made me less overwhelmed at the thought of setting aside a day of rest with little people who are a tad on the demanding side right now.  at the end of their intro, right before they go on to describe their family sabbath practices, they offer this:

Please see us as real people with real children who have been known to scream throughout everything you’re about to read. p. 67

love it.  this couple urges parents to see themselves as “priestly parents” rather than “sabbath cops.”

Priests, as spiritual authority figures and keepers of ritual, make things holy by blessing days and children.  As priestly parents, our role is to say “Yes” to honoring the sabbath.  If we fail to be priestly parents, we might become sabbath cops who merely patrol the house, saying “No” to things for being against the rules of the sabbath.  Sabbath cops can create a quiet, joyless day with “no fun ‘aloud’.” p. 69

i’ll keep you posted…


7 thoughts on “rest

  1. I loved Dorothy Bass’ “Receiving the Day”. I will have to dig that out and re-read it.
    There is definitely something to purposefully setting aside time to rest and re-charge. Not easy with three little ones….good luck in ‘re-orienting’!

  2. bethany – i’ve been re-asking myself that same question! i think the big thing for us (and i think this applies whether there are kids or no kids) was to set aside a day where there were no to-do lists. no laundry, no cleaning, no making lists for next week, no groceries. but they way for us to make it less tempting to do those things was/is to have all of those things done the day before. thursday night starts our sabbath so thursday during the day is always cleaning/prepping day. and i’ve been trying to communicate this to the boys so they get excited, too.

    and even though we love to cook, we’ve decided to try and have a special meal on thursday night (the start of our sabbath) and then keep food easy on friday. it was proving too frustrating to cook different/fun meals with too many little people to tend to.

    i know my temptation when there are babies around is to try and get a lot of stuff done while they are napping. on the sabbath i simply don’t. i rest and don’t even let myself think about what i “should” be doing.

    h. clay trumbull’s book “hints on child training” has a good section on the sabbath. he even talks about waking your little ones with a special song and a special toy reserved for the day.

    i’ve loved reading about some families who use candles/songs/blessings to start and end their sabbaths. perhaps we’ll try incorporating that once we get back into the rhythm of a regular sabbath.

    i’d really recommend lynne baab’s book to you. it really helped us start figuring out what works for our family. hearing how other people do it is also such an encouragement to me. a good friend of mine just explained to me what their sabbath looks like and i love hearing that it is truly a restful day for them – that sabbath isn’t just another “to do” thing.

    sorry so long!!

  3. Thanks for the long response! I feel like before having a baby, we were good about intentionally setting aside Sunday as a sabbath – no homework/work/usual weekly to-dos…lots of rest and restoration and worship. It felt different from the rest of the week. But now with a four month old, I feel like every day just feels more or less the same, since the rhythm of the day is kind of dictated by her eating/napping. And it’s not like you can take a “sabbath” from parenting. 😉 So it’s good for me to think about how we can try to really set aside a day of rest and what that looks like now as a family of three. I will definitely check out the books you recommended. Thanks!

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