Family faith-sharing tip:
Planning ahead is the best way to protect Sabbath from pressures, frustration, and upsets. Begin to prepare on Sunday. Make food ahead of time, pack bags for church, and do a little bit of tidying in the home each day.
Involve your family in getting ready for Sabbath in ways they enjoy. Working alongside your children can make chores easier and fun. If Sabbath preparations are stressful and anxious, your children will be less likely to enjoy Sabbath too.
- Exodus 20:8-11
- Sabbath is a gift from God that makes our whole week better. It is a gift of time to spend worshiping Him, enjoying His creation, and helping others.
- Six bulky bags, backpacks, or small suitcases filled with blankets or other soft, but heavy, loads
- One small, light bag that your children would find attractive, perhaps with a design like a heart, smile, peace, dove, Bible, etc.
- Ten to 12 luggage labels with string or yarn ties (or cut shapes from posterboard, punch a hole in one end and knot string through the hole)
- Marker pens/felt pens
- Put these next five items, or similar things, in the light, attractive bag, making sure it isn’t too heavy:
- A small, attractive Bible storybook
- A small, attractive nature book
- A special treat to eat
- A few cards you could write to encourage someone
- Attractive, small candle and matches that you can light later
What you do:
- Ask your children to list all the different things your family does during the week—schoolwork, housework, employed work, traveling, shopping, playing games, preparing meals, worshiping God, caring for others, being together as a family, etc.
- Write these activities on the different luggage labels and tie them to the bags. You can tie more than one activity to each bag.
- Tie the labels with the things you would do on Sabbath (such as the last three in the list) to the light, attractive bag.
- Tie the labels with the things you wouldn’t choose to do on Sabbath to the heavy bags.
- Then give all the bags to one child and ask them to carry them across the room. That journey represents Sunday.
- If you have other children, let them take turns carrying the bags across the room to represent each of the days of the week, stopping after Friday. It’s heavy work carrying the bags every day of the week.
- God wants us to have a day when we don’t have to carry all the bags so we have more time to worship Him, be with each other, enjoy nature, and be kind to those who need help.
- Let them drop all the bags except the attractive, light one with the Sabbath activity labels. Carrying that bag across the room feels so much easier and happier. Let each child carry this bag and feel the difference.
- Now open the lighter bag and enjoy the contents together, which represent some of the lovely things we can do on Sabbath.
- Read aloud Matthew 11:28.
- Use the heavy bags from the family time in your prayer activity.
- Think about some of the worries and concerns you each have.
- Pick up a bag that represents your worry and carry it across the room as you pray silently or aloud for the concern, or ask others to pray for you.
- At the other end of the room, empty out your bag and imagine you’re leaving your big worry with Jesus, for Him to look after.
- Thank Him for taking care of your problem and for filling your bag with peace and joy, as you carry the empty bag across the room again.