family time homemaking reflections

Strategically Keeping Sundays Special

April 7, 2008

For believers involved in any sort of church ministry, Sundays can quickly become the busiest day of the week. Even for those who simply gather together to worship and to minister through fellowship two or more times on Sunday, worship, rest, and reflection are often overshadowed by the hectic pace of the day.

Although we no longer observe the Sabbath as the Old Testament Israelites did, we do recognize Sunday as the Lord’s Day–the day set aside for worship and rest. We realized early on that in our home, there could be a tendency for a hectic pace to translate into a frenzied, cluttered pace within our souls, as well. How sad it would be, if on the special day, our souls are the most busy. And as God brings children into our home, we want them to see our emphasis on Sunday as a day of worship, ministry, rest, and reflection. But if we want it to be this way, we will have to do certain things on purpose.

Here are some things that we are practicing in order to preserve the sacredness of our Sundays:

Planning

1. Plan and Prepare the Meal Well in Advance

This may mean just throwing a roast in the crockpot, or it may mean making a double meal earlier in the week. Being able to come home to an almost ready meal makes a huge difference in the pace of things on Sunday.

2. Use Disposable

Since we don’t have a dishwasher, this is a huge help when we have guests. We don’t usually do this when it’s just the two of us, but having a clean kitchen on Sundays also helps provide for a more relaxed atmosphere. (On the same note, if you’re invited over elsewhere, you could ask if you could bring disposable plates and utensils. I had a friend do this for me once, and it left a memorable impression, particularly because her purpose was to preserve Sunday’s worshipful, restful atmosphere.)

3. Make Sure The Home Is Clean Before Sunday Morning Arrives

Particularly for me, this means making sure the dishes are entirely caught up, the table is clean, and laundry is all caught up. A clean kitchen makes me happy. 😉 (Of course, if you do have a dishwasher, you could just hide everything in there. 😉 ).

4. Don’t Stay out or up Late the Night before

This can also aid with #3. We’re firm believers that getting a good night’s sleep (though we realize some people just require a lot less) can help in many areas. A late night makes it hard to get up early on Sunday mornings, and sleeping till the last minute or falling asleep in church kind of defeats the purpose.

5. Prepare Needed Items in Advance

Clothes, Bibles, Tithe and Offerings, Resources. Don’t wait until the last minute–lay it out (or at least plan it) the night before. Put your tithe/offering inside the front of your Bible.

6. Prepare Our Hearts in Advance

It takes work and forethought to do all of this; but making anything special requires hard work. When we as a family realize the effort we’re putting into making Sunday special, it will serve as a constant reminder that we consider Sunday a special day.

Traditions that Teach

Having a regular Sunday preparation routine will emphasize the importance of Sundays; and if you have children, you can create many fond memories to look back on. Memories, hopefully, that will remind them of God, worship, and why Sunday is important.

A tradition that we are working on establishing is to get the house cleaned and work caught by Saturday afternoon and then make challah together as a family. (Challah is a Jewish bread eaten on the Sabbath and holiday; we want to use it to remind us of the “sweetness” of Sundays.) Tammy has an excellent recipe here. (Even if you don’t do this as a tradition, it is amazingly yummy!) Here’s a picture of our first attempt (We LOVE it!!!):

Challah Bread

If you don’t have a “prepare for Sunday plan,” I highly recommend trying something like this for one week. The blessings and feelings of rest will be worth it. If you do have a “Sunday plan” or things you do to prepare, I’d love to hear other ideas on what things your family does to prepare for the Lord’s Day!

~

If you’re just skimming over this or aren’t familiar with our family’s understanding of Scripture, you might consider suggesting that we just stay home on Sundays or just get together with another family. However, we believe the Scripture very clearly teaches that being part of a body of believers–the church (not the building, but the institution)–is necessary. And while the Bible doesn’t mandate that the local church hold 3 Sunday services and 1 midweek service, that is when most local churches assemble together.

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  • Amy April 7, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Keren,
    What a blessing to hear of your planning! I must confess that I am not always caught up by Saturday afternoon – we often find ourselves entertaining or in some sort of ministry on Saturday so I need to figure out how I can get things tidied up a bit earlier on Saturday. Our Sundays are good; I just need to get to bed earlier on Saturday evening. 🙂
    We have two little traditions (I guess you could call it, that we have been trying to do as a family)
    1) We always have muffins on Sunday mornings. They’re easy to prepare in advance, and make for a nice, sweet breakfast, to kind of set Sundays apart as a special day.
    2) We try to play sacred music all Sunday morning to help us think on things of the Lord so that we can prepare our hearts as we prepare our bodies to meet with the body for worship.
    Oh, and then during Sunday lunch/dinner (whichever you call it) we try to talk about the message and ways we can/need to apply it.

  • keren April 7, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Amy,

    Thanks for the great tips! I like the breakfast idea. We’re wanting to do a casserole the night before, but I forgot about muffins!! 🙂

    Good one on the music–reminds me of college days! 🙂

  • monica April 7, 2008 at 10:40 am

    What a great post! I am learning as my family grows to plan ahead and prepare more and more. Each weekend I seem to fail to prepare enough in one area or another. All the planning ahead makes for a peaceful Sunday morning. This weekend my husband and I decided to leave 10 minutes earlier than we had before Rose was born. This was a blessing to have a few extra minutes before service. I want to try the challah also! My family loves bread and this looks so pretty and special.

  • keren April 7, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Thanks, Monica! We are definitely trying to do the same with Hana Kate. Rose is so darling! They do look a little alike, too!

  • candace April 7, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    This topic has been on my mind for quite a while now. I have three 5 and under, and by the time I get to worship on Sunday, I’m frazzled and stressed.
    Thank you for the post!

  • Kristy Howard April 7, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    This is a WONDERFUL post- very well said! My husband is a pastor and we have two small children (with another due to arrive in a few weeks)… needless to say, Sundays can be VERY hectic if we don’t purposefully plan otherwise!! Your tips were right on target… doing the things you mentioned keeps our home running smoothly on this busy “Day of rest!”.

    ~Kristy @ Homemaker’s Cottage

    P.S. Mind if I link to your post??

  • Laura@HeavenlyHomeMakers April 7, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Great encouragement! I’m always so frustrated to walk in to worship and be all frazzled from a hectic morning…like I’m hollering at my kids: “HURRY UP AND LET’S GET OUT THE DOOR SO WE CAN GO WORSHIP!! COME ON!!!” Doesn’t so much create the mood for worship! SO, preparing as much ahead of time like you said, is very helpful! We’re trying to teach our kids this as much as possible…to get out their clothes and Bibles and money and anything else they need the night before. They are getting the hang of it!

  • Katey April 7, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    What an encouraging post! We try to preserve Sundays for the Lord but often get bogged down by the little things. I think your simple tips are just what we need! I love the Challah tradition too, yummy.

  • keren April 7, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Thanks, Kristy. I enjoyed reading your article, too! God provides in such neat ways!

    You are welcome to link to this post. Thanks again.

  • Heather April 9, 2008 at 7:35 am

    Thank you for the WONDERFUL reminder and ideas!!!! They bread looks fantastic… going to have to check that one out!
    Heather

  • mythreeringcircus April 9, 2008 at 10:15 am

    What a great post and great suggestions. I want to apply those this week. I am very guilty of sleeping till the last minute Sunday mornings and being grouchy as we try to heard everyone into the van to get to church on time, and we are often late! I am convicted now to be more purposeful in my approach to the Sabbath. Thank you!

  • Britni April 9, 2008 at 10:36 am

    This is a great reminder. I really need to work harder on this one. Thanks.

  • Texastanya April 9, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Excellent suggestions. Thank you for the encouragement! 🙂

  • MrsScotsman April 9, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    One thing new that I am trying for Sundays is to not get on the computer. This way I’m spending time with my family. It makes Sunday different than other days.

  • Pieces April 10, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Those are great ideas–some of which I learned the hard way when my kiddos were younger. I need to reevaluate and think about how we can make Sundays more restful now. I like the idea of staying off of the computer.

    One thing I learned when I had little ones was to always bring a totebag to church. By the end of the services my kids were always handing me papers and art projects, people would return dishes to me, or lend us books. My arms were always full and I would get crabby. The totebag helped a lot.

  • donna (mom24boyz) April 21, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Great tips! I have worked out a weakly cleaning schedule and I implemented on Saturday nights to do some prepatory work for Sunday, Such as laying our clothes out, getting all the wash caught up and of course making sure the kitchen is all clean up. More Preperation makes for a much nicer Sunday! I have no “assigned” chores for Sunday–it is a much needed day of rest! Just as the good Lord intended!

  • Saving Money on Honey « Mill Musings April 29, 2008 at 9:24 am

    […] what’s on sale, there are some items that we need regularly. Now that we’ve been making challah on a weekly basis, I’ve realized that we use a bit more honey than in the past. And honey can get quite […]

  • thereluctantcaterpillar May 2, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    thanks so much for sharing! i can’t wait to try this myself!