For the past five plus years I have heard people speak about taking a Sabbath and laugh, I mean I am a mom of four. How in the world am I supposed to not work one day a week? My work involves wiping butts, cleaning up messes and making sure the growing little people are sustained with some form of caloric intake each day. Rest is non-existent in my world. I have had the word Sabbath written in a journal for weeks, maybe months, in hopes to study up on it, to get a better understanding so I could find ways to honor God in a weekly Sabbath. I decided I needed to get a better understanding of Shabbat first and foremost.
I decided to do a quick Google search and see what I could come up with, first were a lot of dictionary answers and a wiki page but then I ran across www.jewfaq.org and there I found some fascinating insights I hadn’t previously understood. The first thing the site says is, “Shabbat is a joyful day of rest.” [Emphasis mine] That sentiment alone is paradigm shifting for me. In our current culture taking a day off is nearly unheard of and as a mom stopping for a day sounds overwhelming because what about all of the things I need to get done. In Jewish culture Shabbat is something they look forward to with great anticipation, it is referred to as a bride or queen. A bride is never denied on her wedding day, nor should we deny Shabbat.
There are two commandments that go with Shabbat: to remember (zakhor) and to observe (shamor). In the origination of Shabbat it was too commemorate two things, the creation and the exodus from Egypt. So in the command to zakhor God was calling the Israelites to remember how He created the heavens and the earth as well as their freedom from slavery to the Egyptians. Practically for me in this time I feel as though it is to remember God as creator and how He has set me free from my bondage. I am not sure I give pause weekly to all God has saved and redeemed me from and to do that is to take part in Shabbat. Shamor has more to do with the practicality of how God desires us to honor Him and the Sabbath. In Jewish law the word that has been translated as “work” is the word “melachah.” Melachah has nothing to do with your occupation, which makes sense, seeing that priest can still lead services, instead it has to do with a work that is creative or something you can control within your environment, taking dominion of something.
When Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath” he meant it. The Sabbath isn’t about restricting you from things it is about freeing you up for the important things in life, God and family. The Sabbath about making room, being intentional with time to truly celebrate and embrace the life the Lord has set before you. Typing this out makes me giddy with anticipation and teary-eyed thinking of how lovingly God was to carve out time to invest in family. He truly is for us. He wants us to have a pleasurable life, full of joy.
As of right now I don’t know what this is going to look like in our household but mark my word I am going to allow my shifted mindset to create new parameters for our week. I will raise my boys to mindfully celebrate the freedom Christ brought and the beauty of God’s creation each and every week. Leisurely meals are also a large part of Shabbat, so are scripture readings and playing games as a family. I love the idea of implementing each of these aspects to our weekly Sabbath. A bride doesn’t neglect the preparations of her wedding and so I too will choose to diligently prepare for this beautiful opportunity to honor God, in honoring the Sabbath.
I hope in a few weeks or maybe months I will be able to write again about how we are observing the Sabbath in our home. Wish me luck.