How Do You Prepare to Celebrate?

[ 2 ] Comments

by NotMolly

Every Thursday, and during the day on Friday, I look forward to status updates from my Jewish friends, as they often add pictures and notes of their preparations to celebrate the Sabbath. I’m struck that they make such determined preparation: cleaning, shopping for and preparing a special meal, getting out the candles, making sure everyone has the things they’ll need for the Sabbath. I’m struck that there is so much happiness and whole-family involvement in preparing to truly celebrate each Sabbath.

It’s one of those times I experience Holy Envy: a desire to participate more fully in the celebrations and spaces Heavenly Father has laid out for our benefit. Some weeks, I carry that Holy Envy into concrete application, and we really do have a better Sabbath experience. Other weeks, I’m not so on-the-ball.

What preparations have become part of your Sabbath tradition? What elements are you trying to implement to more fully celebrate the Sabbath?

About NotMolly

Liz blogs as NotMolly, and lives on the western reaches of the Rocky Mountains with her Tall, Dark, and Slightly Neanderthal husband, their four beloved Minions, a huge number of books and assorted musical instruments, and four very spoiled pet hens. She can occasionally be somewhat serious and ponder The Big Stuff. And then she'll probably lapse into puns again...

2 Responses to How Do You Prepare to Celebrate?

  1. Ramona Gordy says:

    This is definitely something to think about, even ponder. Before my husband and joined the church, we did lots of activities on the entire weekend. Even though we both had come from church backgrounds (my husband was an inactive Mormon when we got married and you know what, he didn’t bother to tell me either, but that is another story). So when we joined the church and even now, we are struggling to keep the Sabbath holy by not participating in the obvious activities, but then we ask ourselves what else is there to do after church but eat and take a nap. It is pathetic, I know.
    So I have been studying the Old Testament ,specifically Exodus and Leviticus and I am in awe of the instructions the Lord gives the children of Israel concerning keeping the Sabbath “Holy unto the Lord”.

    The stand out word is ” keep” which is to guard, and holiness implies setting a part, and keeping special. It reminds me of a gift, that has been prepared by us to present, and all the loving preparations that go into making it special and then at the presentation, we give that gift with all of our heart, with all of the love we can squeeze out.

    That is how I am learning to keep the Sabbath day holy, and prepare for it. I can see the benefit of thinking about and anticipating the Sabbath during the week, so that we can prepare our hearts to actually look forward to it.
    But I know that at least for me, I have in the past become bogged down in callings and the activities that entails. I confess that I have had an occasion to look at the Sabbath as a work day, and started to dread it. I did not like that feeling and I have been praying to learn how to actually “celebrate” the Sabbath, because I think that is what it is, a celebration with our Father in Heaven and his son Jesus Christ.
    Thank you for this post, you got me thinking….

    • Liz C says:

      I’m so glad!

      I know what you mean about “work days”… I joke that I’m a Part-Time Presbyterian and Full-Time Mormon. I sing with the Presbyterian choir (which is tremendous fun!), then have about an hour at home before my own church meetings, then choir after that, then dinner, and suddenly, it’s night. It only works if I’m actually prepared to celebrate the Sabbath: I know what everyone is wearing, meals are planned and pre-made or prepped, etc.

      The weeks I manage it, it works really well. I don’t always manage, but I’m trying to improve.

      I think back on some of the traditions I’ve enjoyed in the past, and things my Jewish friends do, and I think I can improve on the preparation and setting apart. Starting Saturday night, for instance, with a candle-lit meal or prayer time with the family, and having the day-to-day fuss of meals and cleaning and clothing out of the way, and actually paying attention to the time/space on Sundays, and using time to listen to conference addresses, uplifting music, work on family history, write letters to loved ones, feed the missionaries, have supper with another household, take a long walk… so many good things I could be doing and delighting in, set apart from normal days.

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