During our early years of parenting, my husband had an unconventional work schedule, landing his “weekend” on Fridays and Saturdays. This meant that I took the kids to church solo. And typical weekend stuff could only happen on Saturday. Not wanting to short-change ourselves of time together, we instituted Friday as Family Day. This was a day that we set aside to spend the day as a family—we didn’t have play dates with friends, shopping trips, or scheduled appointments that would cut into spending time together. But we didn’t just sit around the house staring at each other, and we didn’t avoid getting things done. We simply made a very conscious effort to keep the day family-centered. I remember Megan, at 4 years old, telling a neighbor that she wouldn’t be available to play the next day. When asked “how come?” She replied enthusiastically, “Because it’s Family Day!”
Setting apart one day out of seven to be a special blessing was what God had in mind from the moment of Creation. It was God’s design to share a time of mutual enjoyment with us. God’s desire was for this day to be refreshing, a delight, and holy. (Exodus 23:12; Isaiah 58:13-14) For most Christians, Sunday is designated as their day of worship. But do we really delight in it, making it a special day, as God planned? Or do we, like the religious leaders of the Old Testament, fall into the trap of distorting the experience making it oppressive! Has Sunday morning become a harried, hectic, routine ripe with conflicts leading to contention and quarreling because all of the family is together at the same time?
So what it is the right way to honor Sunday? The first thing to do is to examine our attitude of heart and mind toward this day, which is to supposed to be so special. I know of one mom who sings with her children (echo-style) as they get ready for church on Sunday: This is the Day/That the Lord has made/I will rejoice/and be glad in it. This sets the tone of happy anticipation for church and the whole day. Having things prepared the night before (clothes picked out, Bibles & offering gathered, breakfast –or lunch– choices determined) can also create a sense of anticipation and demonstrate a desire for this to be more than an ordinary day. Remember, God did not intend for this to be an empty day, but a day to take personal pleasure and delight in the Lord. What does this mean at your house, even after church on Sunday?
As my children grew, the inevitable involvement with school, sports and various activities, gradually chipped away our Family Day. When my husband’s job changed, we regained the standard weekend days of Saturday and Sunday. While it was nice to attend church together as a family once again, it almost became just another item to be completed on the Sunday “to-do” list. There wasn’t an attitude of anticipation that made Sunday anything special. I miss Family Day. I suspect that God misses it, too.