Making Sabbath Special

Isaiah says, "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord's holy day honourable, and if you honour it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord...."

The challenge, as parents, is in leading their families to experience Sabbath as a blessing and a delight - without making it a day of self-service.  Come the end of the week it can be difficult as we are often tired and/or over-committed.  But it is very important to develop special traditions and experiences both within our families, and in our larger church community.

Sabbath is also about relationship: with God; and with each other.  And so it is important to make time on the Sabbath to build these relationships.

Here are some ideas and resources that may support you as you seek to make Sabbath special in your family:

Friday Night Family Traditions

  • Light candles to welcome the Sabbath

  • Change the bedlinen and pyjamas on Friday so that everyone has fresh beds

  • Invite a family to join you for opening Sabbath

  • Watch the sunset together

  • Welcome the sabbath with praise songs

  • Set the dinner table with the special plates & glasses (or use plastic plates and napkins and make it look like a party!)

  • Video call family who live too far away to visit

  • Have a special drink just for Sabbath

  • Make bathtime extra special with bubbles or food colouring!

  • Pray a blessing over your children individually as the Sabbath approaches

  • Take time to learn a new hymn/chorus as a family

  • Borrow or invest in a telescope and look at the stars

"We have a series of 7 candles and like to light them while reading the account of creation in Genesis 1.  Now that the kids are older we can take turns reading it and lighting the candles."
"We always have haystacks on Sabbath - it is our Sabbath tradition!"
"My kids always know it's Sabbath when the house is clean and tidy - they get so excited and happy!"

Sabbath Morning Family Experiences

  • Go for an early morning walk as a family, noticing the birds and animals

  • Have a special breakfast or a special table setting

  • Set the tone with soft, calming worship music

  • Keep special clothes just for Sabbath

  • Make morning worship a celebration!

  • Attend Sabbath School and Church as a family

  • Invite a neighbour to worship with you

"In our home we use a special essential oil in our vaporiser - the sense of smell is tied so closely to our memories, I want them to have happy memories of Sabbath whenever they smell it as they go about their life."
"We come together as the sun is setting and quietly wait as the Sabbath opens before singing hymns of praise."

Sabbath Afternoon Ideas for Families

  • Visit sick or lonely Church family

  • Write letters or make cards for others

  • Sing at a nursing home

  • Go for a bush walk

  • Collect seedpods, leaves, flowers, etc and investigate them

  • Take the dog for a walk

  • Review the Sabbath School lesson

  • Make sand dioramas of Bible stories

  • Nature scavenger hunt

  • Join an Adventurer or Pathfinder club

  • Visit family or friends

  • Lay on the grass together and watch the clouds - what can you see?!

  • Invite someone home for lunch

  • Letterbox leaflets or offer literature door-to-door

  • Play music together

  • Help or encourage a neighbour or friend

  • Watch the sunset together before closing Sabbath (let it linger!)

  • Fill a backpack with useful items (not junk!) for a homeless person and find someone to give it to (or donate through a local organisation)

Helpful Resources

Here are a few resources that you may find helpful when looking at ways to intentionally make Sabbath a special delight in your family.  Note: whist these resources may be made by or for Adventists, they are not created, moderated or endorsed by the SDA Church unless otherwise stated.

© 2016 SQC Children's Ministries