A friend of mine posted on Facebook recently about something his rabbi said during Shabbat services. “Sabbath,” the good rabbi said, “is like a snow day every week.”
I love that image. Snow days–especially for kids–are filled with delight. Putting on snow pants, hats and gloves to go out exploring and playing in the snow. After a good long time, a cup of hot chocolate or tea. Maybe a book by the fire or a favorite movie. Certainly no work.
The best book I’ve ever read about Sabbath Keeping is by Dan B. Allender called simply Sabbath. Frankly, it blew me away.
What he said is this: The 4th Commandment on keeping the Sabbath is the only we relish in breaking. “I’m too busy to take time off.” Or “I’m always connected to my work.” Or something along those line.
Yet in the Hebrew one of the connotations of Sabbath is celebration. God didn’t need to rest because God was “overworked” rather God took delight, God relished in all that God had done
Sabbath can become a living out of the kingdom of God that is to come in the present world. It can become a time not of just cessation from the mundane, but of true enjoyment, taking pleasure in this wonderful world God has created and being restored.
“Dream delight for yourself and your family,” he tells his seminary students. “Let yourself go with dreams as wild as you can imagine. Don’t let money or physical limitations enter your thoughts. Dream as extravagantly as you know how to do, then pray that you might truly dream well. Where would your dreams take you? Where would you go, with whom and what would you do?”
Maybe that scares the bejeezus out of you. You may not know how to handle that much delight in our world, in creation, in sharing love with your family. So you might just push this aside.
But if you are intentional — and let me be honest, you have to have intentionality to keep the Sabbath, you can’t just decide “Oh, today I’ll do it” because you won’t — Sabbath keeping can change your entire outlook on life. What if you knew that at the end of each week you absolutely knew you would have a day of rest, of delight? What if you knew you and your loved ones could count on being free from all obligations? Or that it would be filled with a day of reading, or going in to Boston, or sharing a non-rushed meal with friends?
Imagine how that would transform your life.
And that’s the gift God wants to give us. Each week.
Find that book or any other if you want to explore this further. Or just decide today that beginning this week, you’re going to spend one day out of seven taking delight in God’s wonderful world, in the way the kingdom will be.