MORE IDEAS FOR
THE PREPARATION DAY
Six years ago I posted a devotion called THE PREPARATION DAY, and the following week, THE SHABBAT MEAL. I received lots of responses from this devotion and promised that I would send out the ideas that were sent in from readers. Forgive me. It’s taken all this time to get it out to you! Six years later!
I do not send this out as doctrine about a day, but as ideas for you to try in your home. These ideas come from Messianic and Christian believers and so there are varying opinions but I am sure you will find something to bless you. Please don’t get into a doctrinal issue about this. We don’t handle doctrinal issues in Above Rubies. These ideas are practical ideas for you to incorporate into your home according to the way you run your home, whether you worship on Saturday or Sunday.
For our new readers, you will need to catch up on what this is all about. Go to THE PREPARATION DAY, You will need to read this first before you read the rest of the ideas in this email.
FATHER, CLEAN ME AS I CLEAN MY HOME
Today is a busy day around our house. We all pitch in to clean, prepare food and bake bread for Erev Shabbat. I like to pray, "Father, clean me as I clean my house. Prepare me and the household for a meeting with you.” There are touching moments and tears of joy between family members as we light candles and sing on Friday evenings.
Corvallis, Montana, USA
WE SURPRISE DAD
I wanted to let you know how much your article The Preparation Day has meant to our family. We have been having such a meal every Saturday night, adding also "show and tell" and sharing Scripture, etc. I make sure we have a special tablecloth and put flowers and candles on the table. Our twelve year old son delights in helping me prepare the special foods with which we surprise his father.
I ACTUALLY TOOK A NAP
The day before you sent The Preparation Day devotional my friend and I were discussing how to have a day of rest, so your devotional was timely. I was so excited about it. On my Preparation Day I entertained three guests and my husband cooked on the grill that day's meal, plus the Sabbath's day meal, which was a huge help for my first time in preparing for a Sabbath.
I cleaned, washed, folded and used up all the energy that my 39 year old pregnant body could muster last Saturday, but I had a great peace in my soul knowing that I would honor God that day and the next. On Sunday morning I had my first leisure breakfast. I had nothing to rush about all morning and I knew it was supposed to be this way. After worship services, we had lunch that was prepared the day before, and later I actually took a nap. I slept in the middle of the day! Of course, the boys were taking their usual naps.
SHAWN LOUISE TAUNTON
Harris, Iowa, USA
WE STILL MAKE THE BEDS
Hello from Australia. It was lovely to read your article about The Preparation Day. For the last 14 years we, as a family, kept The Day of Preparation on Friday. We believe the best day of the week is our Sabbath day. When I first started keeping it, I found it very difficult to accomplish everything on the Friday. A friend suggested I start preparing on Sunday. Therefore, during the week, I do things like preparing clothes; then on Friday, I can concentrate on cooking and cleaning.
During the Sabbath morning we have our church, sometimes formal, but because we live in outback Australia, we often share this day with other likeminded families. After our morning studies, we have lunch. We then try to do something special. It is lovely to have a clean house to do this in.
When I first started to keep the Sabbath holy, I decided not to make my bed, but never felt comfortable about this. When we had visitors, my house would look untidy with unmade beds. It then occurred to me that God is a God of order and on all days, including the Sabbath, our beds should be made, used dishes washed, etc. However, I do not include any activity that would take away time from my Lord on the Sabbath.
STEP IT UP A NOTCH
On Friday (we keep Sabbath on Saturday) I clean my entire house from top to bottom, as time will allow (I don't always get to windows and the door handles!) and prepare all the meals for Sabbath. I have young children and during the week the oldest two are also responsible for chores. They, too, look forward to Sabbath and their "day of rest." They haven't totally figured out the concept, as Sunday morning I can count on my oldest to say, "It's Sabbath, Momma! I don't have to do chores!" but they're working on it.
I LOVE The Preparation Day. I love being busy and I love the feeling of actually having something DONE by Friday night. Anyone who is a mother of young children knows how frustrating it is to clean all day long and at the end of the day still feel like you've accomplished NOTHING. But on Friday, we all "step it up" a notch and get the things cleaned that hardly ever get cleaned (like our computer room, which is also the place most of our junk lands during the week.) It's a great feeling to sit down Friday night and know my house is in order.
Brownsville, Kentucky, USA
WE DOUBLE THE WORK
I wanted to quickly share with you about our Preparation Day, as it is important here in Israel! We try to not plan anything on this day (music lessons, errands, business, etc). We begin our day earlier than the rest of the week. I remind the children that this is a "work" day and not a play day. We do double the work we would normally do. We change the linens, mop the floors, scrub bathrooms, vacuum, empty all laundry hampers, and overall pick up the house. None of us really feel rested on Shabbat if the house is out of sorts. And we REALLY rest after all that work!
We also make our bread (oh what a treat for hubby to come home Friday night to the smell of homemade bread!) and any other food we might be eating on Saturday. Lately, with the baby coming, I haven't had the energy for our normal routine, so to make things easier, I have challah in the freezer and have been eating simpler meals, like pizza, every Friday night. We have done more sandwiches on Sabbath instead of cooking the day before. For unexpected guests, we keep a veggie tray on hand, plus crackers and hummus, or a big bowl of fresh fruit salad made up on Friday.
On Sabbath, we only read books that encourage us spiritually. The older children read Bible stories to the younger ones. They are allowed "Sabbath" movies on this day; Noah or Jonah, etc. And then we REST! I nap sometimes two times on this blessed day! Doesn't sound like bondage to me!
Sometimes we are too busy during the work week to do things with the children and we do this in the afternoon, like bike rides, or sometimes dad does do car stuff with the boys because this is his father/son time. Arena and I often do herb garden stuff or whatever she would like. They look forward to this time.
Another thing we like to do: we shout out a Scripture verse and the children look it up. The first one to find the verse gets a point. Whoever gets the most points after 10 verses gets $5! We also have contests to see who can memorize the order of the books of the Bible fastest, etc., and they always get some sort of treat, cookie or something.
Our family has been so blessed by keeping the Preparation Day and Sabbath. There are times and situations where we can't/don't keep it, but that just makes us look forward to the next time we can all the more!
Pporiya, Illit, Israel
NO LONGER BREATHING DOWN THEIR NECKS
Thanks for the Day of Preparation issue. I tried it this weekend and oh! What a difference. It also made me look at my maid with a different view, because while we all expect them to do everything, they can not. When we actually get down to do things with them we find they can only do so much and no more because they have two hands just like us and they are human beings too.
We cleaned the house, did the laundry and later I cooked for two meals. Although I did not get to prepare cold meats and lunch for Sunday after church, I think for a start we did pretty well. Sunday morning was even better because the house was so clean and I insisted on people sleeping in. I have a live-in maid who insists on waking up early and though she did, there was not much to do. We managed to have a proper breakfast and rested about an hour before we started for Church. The biggest difference was how we found the service. My husband and I held hands and prayed for the service and for God to prepare our hearts for the Word. Before, it was like a hurricane and no one enjoyed breakfast because I was breathing down their necks like an army general because we were behind time and I hate arriving for service late.
When we got there, I felt like I have never felt before in service for a long time. Our hearts were prepared, ready for God's message.
Supper time was perfect. Normally we dish in individual plates in the kitchen but Sunday we defrosted our meal, cooked our sadza and spread mats and we all shared direct from the pots, each taking as they wanted. It was like a big picnic. It was about 1.5 hours before our normal meal time so that saved time to clean in time and rest.
Thank you for the idea. We want to take the Word into our practical lives rather than speak in tongues and rebuke demons while we cannot even take care of dirty dishes and clothes in our homes. We all found time to relax and read the Word at our own time. I have three daughters and a wonderful husband and even he was impressed.
JOYCE in ZIMBABWE
I wanted to share our Preparation Day with you. Last May we found the most wonderful church fellowship after looking for several months. The only down side is that it is 1 1/2 hours away! There are actually only a few families that live nearby---most of us drive quite a long way, some up to two hours. So we have a meal together after the church service, and then a second time of singing and testimonies after the meal, unless we have a second service at a local nursing home. This means that on Sunday we are gone from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm or even later.
Saturday has become our Day of Preparation by necessity. But the anticipation is there. We look forward to it. We cook meals for two days because there is no time to do any cooking on Sunday morning (I have four young children to get ready, along with myself.) When I go to bed on Saturday night the house is clean, Sunday's breakfast is prepared, my contributions for lunch are ready, and all the clothes are ironed, hung and ready. We get up early on Sunday and though I don't think I would call it a day of rest, it is surely a day of "worship." Someone called Sunday the "Queen of days" once, and though we did not try to make it so, it has become that. It is the highlight of each week. The work on Saturday is fun because we know what it's for.
Kenockee, Michigan, USA
READY FOR SUNDAY
It was lovely to read your devotion about the Sabbath and the Preparation Day. In our home we have always held Sunday very highly and never shop or go to restaurants etc. We believe that when God said that even your maidservants and menservants need to rest too that He meant it. Why should we expect someone else to work on a Sunday so we can swim or go to the theatre or shop?
To make this happen it has always been very important for us to make sure everything is done on the Saturday. We have a big family tidy up, polish the shoes, lay out the Sunday clothes and bath. (The boys love to wear their ties and waist-coats and the girls their special dresses with their hair all special in bows.) We get any shopping in that we need and look to see if we need to fill the car with petrol. I try to prepare the vegetables and things we need for the next day’s meals and then as the morning arrives there is no rush or panic as we get up and dressed for church. The children love to go to church and are excited. Isn’t it strange how our youngsters, even as young as two years and who sit through the sermon, look forward to church and Sundays, while other families who put their children into Sunday school and rush around, unaware of God’s blessing, don’t want to go. Even our Pastor’s son, at eight years, moans when he has to go to church.
Because there is nothing to do, and I don’t even turn on the washing machine, I can spend a wonderful, peaceful day of rest and extra time with my husband and children. Thank you, Lord, for knowing exactly what we need in the busy lives we lead.
Once, when we were working in Birmingham, we had been witnessing to our Muslim neighbour. As you know, they are very strict and he was impressed with our commitment to Christ and His word and commands. He had great respect for us and our life and could see that there was something different about how we lived compared with the other “Christian” English folks. Every day of the week we went into his shop to buy milk and other groceries, except on Saturdays we bought twice the milk and Sundays we didn’t shop. Week after week he noticed our witness. It was however very sad when one summer we had a team of young Christians come and stay at our church to help with evangelism. Unfortunately, they shopped on Sunday and all our good work was undone in one day! How could he believe someone who didn’t take God seriously enough to obey a simple command? God may look at the inside, but man is always watching the outside to see if our actions meet our words. Are we in fact hypocrites?
Anyway, I was blessed by your words from the Lord, as in England many families follow the teaching that every day is a Sabbath unto the Lord and obeying the Sabbath is of the old covenant. They believe somehow that Christ has now liberated them so they can shop, work, go out to places of leisure or do the DIY in the house on Sundays. It has become a “do all the things you didn’t manage to squeeze in the week” day.
I WOULDN’T TRADE IT FOR THE WORLD
Cooking, house cleaning, baths, readying of clothing and shoes, plus getting together lesson books, readings and talks we had been assigned to present, were all completed on Saturday. Sunday we did not allow our children to play with others but the family all enjoyed a quiet day of being together, the children playing church games, writing letters to loved ones, reading approved literature. Sunday we went to church in a.m. and p.m. We did not patronize any businesses open on Sunday. We did all that the other six days of the week. Now I am over 60 years old and I still do things that way. I will not trade it for acting like the world does because this Sabbath rest is REST and desperately needed in THIS DAY and AGE. My three daughters and our husbands and all the grandchildren are all born again Christians. I can't thank my Precious Lord enough for His unfathomable love for us and I don't ever want to NOT feast on His word at least one whole day where I can rest in Him.
Elk Grove Village, Illinois, USA
RESTED IN MY SPIRIT
We no longer do the Sabbath meal (my husband broke his feet and needs them to be up in the evenings, so we now eat buffet style in the living room)
but I still try to be prepared for the Lord’s Day in other ways. I want to be organized with my work so that I can be rested in my spirit for Sunday. I love to be ready for church without any stress of preparing lunch before we leave. I
Burnet, Texas, USA
I'd like to encourage mothers who are scared of the "preparation work" to jump in. I've been keeping Sabbath for nearly 10 years now, and for at least six of those years have done no cooking. Yes, I do *no cooking* one day a week and I feed my family which has grown to nearly four children under five.
A tremendous blessing to me was to realize how over the years it has gotten EASIER to prepare. As a single, and a new wife, I ran around all Preparation Day to make everything wonderful. I had that luxury. But as babies came it was increasingly stressful and eventually I was forced to lighten the load. Now we enjoy Sabbath just as much, albeit much simpler, and I rarely have to go crazy the day before. With forethought, practice, and DOING IT, it all works out.
I spread cleaning through the week, and on Preparation Day the only thing I clean is the bathroom (in case we have guests) and daily things like dishes, so I can focus more on getting ready. For Sabbath breakfast, we have toast, fresh fruit, and yogurt; often raw, Stevie-sweetened chocolate milk, and hard-boiled eggs. I mix the chocolate milk the day before, and always keep hard-boiled eggs on hand. For Sabbath lunch, we have hot dogs (not the healthiest, but they are organic, grass-fed, nitrate-free) and fruit. I make the hot dogs ahead and keep them warm in a thermos, so all I do is put them on the table. For supper we have something hot from the crock-pot. I do have to make this ahead, but often am able to make enough in bulk to last many weeks which I can pull from the freezer. Meals I discovered that work well for our family are chili, rice and beans, most soups, a crock-pot chicken held on warm (with veggies and rice) and layered spaghetti.
If you are drawn to this, jump in! Before I made the commitment not to cook, I had no idea how I would do it or what I could possibly serve to my family. I discovered so many solutions through DOING IT that I would not have thought of before starting. There are many delicious dishes that can be served room-temperature and made ahead, too. I believe any wife who wants to do this, and decides to, will soon discover several dishes that work for her family that also don't overburden the week, so she can have a day to rest.
Of course, if you are able to make lavish meals ahead, that's a wonderful blessing to your family! I look forward to my children becoming old enough to take on some of the preparation, so we might have more dishes again. However, for now, simplifying (rather than abandoning) has worked great--and I get less worked up about getting ready, or surprise guests, than I did when I made it more lavish.
Mentor, Ohio, USA
WORTH THE EFFORT
My mother-in-law visited over the weekend. On Sunday we were having a birthday dinner for one of her other sons. As I prepared and prepared and prepared the upcoming meals she commented negatively on the seemingly endless work. However, I count it as endless blessings to my family and replied, "Well, we have to eat, and they notice the difference between home-made and store-bought prepared stuff.”
How blessed I felt when, unprompted, my children sang praises to me as I served up Saturday lunch, "Mum, these sausage rolls are beeaauuutiful!” And on Sunday
as I brought out my very simple and basic ice-cream cake for dessert, one sung out, “Mom makes the best ice-cream cake.” All this was beautiful to me, but also a witness to those who were visiting my home, that my efforts as a housewife and mother do matter.
ANTICIPATING THE CELEBRATION
Thank you for the last issue's story about observing Shabbat. For years I have wished to celebrate the Sabbath with my family but have never had a clear idea of how to begin, beyond setting aside our work for the day. Last Friday we shared a Shabbat supper together and it was a great joy to us all.
The Lord surprised me with several additional blessings that evening. I cleaned the house, in preparation for our Shabbat supper, with happy anticipation of the coming celebration. My habit of cleaning the day before the Sabbath has always had a measure of stress in it, motivated by a desire to protect myself from messes on the Sabbath day. This time the cleaning was a joy, as I anticipated a celebration time, and I am delighted. My husband commented on how nice the house looked and the wonderful evening we enjoyed together. It was lovely to rest my eyes on all the clean surfaces in addition to resting our bodies.
Our children engaged in our time of appreciation, too, even the one who has a hard time accepting compliments happily squirmed when listening to her Daddy's praise.
Dekalb, Illinois, USA
Blessings from NANCY CAMPBELL
Finally edited, July 2011