“Prepare to Keep the Sabbath Day Holy,” Ensign, Mar. 1972, 44
“The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” (Mark 2:27.)
How many mothers, like myself, have been guilty on any given Sunday of mumbling something like, “Sweet day of rest, hah! That is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated upon the children of men, or rather the mothers of them”?
I remember saying to my husband, “What is wrong with me? I hate Sunday. I’m either yelling or crying or both. I get a headache Saturday afternoon and it’s Monday before I have any peace. Furthermore, where are all those blessings we are promised? I keep the Sabbath day. I don’t go to movies or shop. I go to my meetings. What is wrong with me?” Well, I found out what was wrong with me.
I believe it was Cecil B. DeMille who said, “You cannot break the Ten Commandments; you can only break yourself against them.”
I knew in my heart, when I slipped in a batch of wash on Sunday, or vacuumed the floor, or stole a peaceful moment after church to sew and watch TV, that I was not keeping the commandments and therefore had no blessing.
What a sense of peace and joy it gave me to commit my heart to the proposition that I would start the very next Sabbath day to keep it holy. Once having made the decision, I was filled with inspiration as to the details of making it truly workable.
I found first that a mother cannot keep Sunday holy without keeping Saturday “hopping.” So there is the first requisite: keeping a commandment means sacrifice. To sacrifice all of Saturday would be quite miserable. (After a few Saturdays my husband said he had acquired my Sunday headache a day early.) We like to use Saturday, or at least part of it, for a family activity or outing, because we see little of our husband and father during the week.
I first list everything in detail that has to be done by Saturday midnight. This includes the house to be well cleaned, all washing caught up, if possible, all clothing ready for every member of the family for Sunday, shoes shined, hems mended, even hair ribbons pressed and laid out; it also includes those clothes needed first thing Monday morning to get the children off to school. Children must have their hair trimmed and shampooed and have their baths. My own hair has to be taken care of and the Sunday School music for which I am responsible prepared.
Next, all three meals are to be planned, shopped for, and prepared ahead. How great it is to pour cold cereal into bowls set on a table the night before and to serve previously mixed orange juice and eggnog, with the breakfast dishes taken care of in two minutes. How soul-satisfying it is to remove the casserole dish or roasting pan from the refrigerator and place it in the oven along with already scrubbed and foiled potatoes; then to leave for Sunday School and come home to a delicious aroma and ten minutes of table setting, milk pouring, setting out ready-made salads, and popping rolls into the oven to warm before sitting down to eat. How prudent it is to have made a delicious cake or pie before this day, to satisfy the sweet tooth. And the final reward is that such a well-planned meal is cleaned up in fifteen minutes or less because all the peeling and baking and messing in the kitchen were done previously. How relaxing it is to come home from sacrament meeting to eat apples or bananas, drink milk in paper cups, and finish off the cake or cookies. How fun to call this supper!
Now I experience one of the glorious blessings the Lord promised: “peace in this world.” (D&C 59:23.)
At last I have peace in my world on the Sabbath day, and I have begun to look forward to it with joy. I find that I cannot refrain from smiling when I contemplate the precious hours that are mine to read or to think and meditate, to pray, to really rest and refresh my soul.
More than this has been given, though. I have found extra strength and wisdom in caring for and dealing with my children. I have felt more love filling my heart and flowing out to them. And I have felt great abundance of the Spirit in me and a closeness to God, a feeling of his love and a new joy in prayer. And I truly feel that I am coming closer to the spirituality and holiness I wish to make a permanent part of my character and a prelude to the personal witness I seek.
The Lord has said that he will provide a way for us to accomplish the things he commands. In addition, he promises immediate gifts of the Spirit for our compliance. I am constantly amazed at the blessings-upon-blessings precept that our Father employs. He has also told us that every commandment he gives to his children is for their benefit in working out this mortal probation.
I have spoken only from a mother’s point of view. Those who are businessmen, career women, students, even children, must find ways between themselves and the Lord to arrange their lives so that they may be able to conduct their Sabbath in a holy way. I testify that if you will go to him in your diverse situations and struggles, you will receive knowledge and inspiration as I did.