This morning as I lay in bed, I found myself asking anew, what is the purpose of the sabbath day? How am I to use this day? Sundays are tricky with small children, a day spent in scripture study and meditation is largely impossible, and even ministering visits can be a challenge. Too often my children beg for interaction in ways I judge inappropriate for the sabbath day and so they go their way and I go mine, and little connection is made. So as I lay in bed, I asked God, how would you have me use the sabbath day? My thoughts turned to my recent study of the Creation as told in Genesis. In six days God created the earth, and then on the seventh day, he rested. In the past I’ve focused on the resting, the not doing. But today the thought came, the first six days God did temporal things, the seventh, he did eternal things. And then the instruction, on my sabbath day, do things of eternal import.
Then came the question, what is eternal? Relationships, wisdom, testimony, experience, knowledge, records, art, music, creation. My heart swelled with enthusiasm for the day ahead. On the sabbath day, I can rest from temporal matters and fill my day with eternal things. And relationships was the first thing that came to mind. The night before I’d taken Scotland, Anders and Chiara out sledding at dusk. We had the most wonderful time! I bonded with each of them at a more joyful level than I have in a while, and we all came home laughing and smiling. My heart swelled with JOY. So as I considered what was appropriate on the sabbath day, I realized, sledding aka connecting with my children would be a wonderful choice. I’ll admit I felt a bit of shame as my children came in and announced to my extended that we were heading out sledding. I worried a bit they wouldn’t consider such an activity “appropriate” for the sabbath, but then I remembered the truth I’d been taught that morning, and took heart in my choice. As we all sled together as a family this evening, another truth was born into me. Sledding might not be an appropriate choice at other times in history, or in other times in our lives. Right now, today, it was the rest our family needed- it was a rest from too much indoor time, too much focus on productivity and cerebral matters, it felt like a great Hallelujah for God’s exquisite gift of these bodies and this earth. Seeing my eldest flying down the hills on his belly his arms circling like a penguin his face bright with joy, I heard the phrase over and over, The sabbath day is a delight!
In a world too full of bad news, screens, pressures, and demands the peace, comfort and joy I felt sliding down snowy hills with my girls in my lap felt akin to the warm hug I feel when I attend the temple. After a quick dinner and some hot cocoa, all six of us squeezed onto our two-seat sofa to watch “The Chosen.” The typical bickering was gone, the love was renewed. And I felt God wink, and say “See, it can be a delight!”