By Sheena Perron
Before I begin I want to say keeping the sabbath day holy looks differently for each person and family. The ideas shared in this article may not align with yours, but I hope that something shared will inspire you to make some changes to more fully keep the sabbath day holy.
As disciples of Jesus Christ we are commanded to keep the sabbath holy. When you think of keeping the sabbath holy what do you think of? Most often the first thing that comes to mind is not shopping on Sunday, but keeping the sabbath day holy is so much more.
This last month, I took some time to read some talks and articles on the Sabbath day. One of the talks I studied was from Spencer W. Kimball titled, The Sabbath-A Delight.
“There is no criticism of legitimate recreation—sports, picnics, plays, and motion pictures. All have potential for revitalizing life, and the Church as an organization actively sponsors such activities. But there is a proper time and place for all worthwhile things—a time for work, a time for play, a time for worship.”
“Sometimes Sabbath observance is characterized as a matter of sacrifice and self-denial, but it is not so. It is merely a matter of shifting times and choosing seasons. There is time enough, particularly in our era of the world’s history, during the six days of the week in (which to do our work and play. Much can be done to organize and encourage weekday activities, avoiding the Sabbath” (Spencer W. Kimball, Jan. 1978).
Another talk that I read that really made me reflect on my own Sabbath day observance was from Russell M. Nelson titled, “The Sabbath is a Delight”. In this talk he said, “Think of this: In paying tithing, we return one-tenth of our increase to the Lord. In keeping the Sabbath holy, we reserve one day in seven as His. So it is our privilege to consecrate both money and time to Him who lends us life each day.”
He then asks, “How can you ensure that your behavior on the Sabbath will lead to joy and rejoicing? In addition to your going to church, partaking of the sacrament, and being diligent in your specific call to serve, what other activities would help to make the Sabbath a delight for you? What sign will you give to the Lord to show your love for Him?”
As I pondered this question I realized that I could do much better to help myself and my family make the Sabbath different from every other day of the week by choosing activities to bring us closer to Him. Here are a few activities and ideas that I came up with.
Do you feel lost when it comes to family history? I am right there with you, but there are actually some really great ways to do family history that you might not have thought of before. Here are a few creative ways to do Family History with your family.
- Indexing: Have you tried indexing? If you have older children this would be great to do. You can use the website or download the app. Get the whole family involved and have an indexing party.
- Family History Live- interview parents, grandparents, other family members: Visit or video message your family and have your children ask questions and record the information. Turn it into a fun activity by having them create microphones and pretend they’re news reporters. Have them ask questions about your childhood. If you have a camera you could take it a step further and record the interview. My children would LOVE doing that.
- Watch Family Videos: This is a family favorite. My children love watching home videos of when they were babies. If you don’t have any family videos then create some.
Do you have a fun Family History activity that your family enjoys?
Spiritual Online Activities
The church has so many amazing resources online. We have decided that Sunday is our “no technology” day, unless it is used to help us spiritually. Here is a list of some of the amazing online resources that you can use.
- Children.lds.org: online games and activities for children. Great site!
- Youth.lds.org: great activities online!
- Scriptures.lds.org – movies with continuous play!
- Mormon Messages/Inspirational Messages: My children love to watch Mormon Messages. We watch many of these videos often in our home.
- Gospel Living App: the new Gospel Living App for Youth is a wonderful app filled with videos, spiritual messages, daily scriptures, and more. If you haven’t downloaded the app I highly recommend it.
What is your favorite spiritual online activity?
The Sabbath is a great opportunity for us to take time to study. Here is another great quote from President Kimball on this:
“The Sabbath is not a day for indolent lounging about the house or puttering around in the garden, but is a day for consistent attendance at meetings for the worship of the Lord, drinking at the fountain of knowledge and instruction, enjoying the family, and finding uplift in music and song. The Sabbath is a holy day in which to do worthy and holy things. The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts, and if one merely lounges about doing nothing on the Sabbath, he is breaking it. To observe it, one will be on his knees in prayer, preparing lessons, studying the gospel, meditating,visiting the ill and distressed, writing letters to missionaries, taking a nap, reading wholesome material, and attending all the meetings of that day at which he is expected.”
Below is a list of resources you can use to study:
- Church Magazines: If you have small children or youth have a stack of ‘Friend’ and/or “New Era” magazines for them to use and study. There are great games and activities as well as wonderful stories that they could read. You can also find these online if you don’t have a subscription.
- Ensign Conference Issue: Order multiple copies for members in your family. Choose a talk to study each Sunday. Then pick a day to discuss with your spouse or family what you read and learned. I like to use this 24 Weeks of General Conference sheet to help me study and keep track of which talks I have studied?
- Conference Quote Search Activity: This would be great for older children. Take turns having someone find a quote from a conference talk. Then have everyone else search through the Conference issue to find it. Once everyone has found the quote, highlight it and then discuss the quote and/or talk. This is a great way to review the Conference talks! If you have younger children try this General Conference Gems activity to review the General Conference talks.
- Conference Quote Jars: Look through the Conference talks and find favorite quotes. Record favorite quotes on a small card and place them in a jar. Each family member can have their own jar or you can have a family jar and take time each day to pick a card out and read the quote as a family.
Do you study on Sunday? What do you study or use to make your study more enjoyable?
“Music can enrich your life. It can edify and inspire you and help you draw closer to Heavenly Father. Music has a profound effect on your mind, spirit, and behavior” (For the Strength of Youth, pg. 22).
Every Sunday I hear my husband say, “Alexa, play Ryan Tilby radio on Pandora.” Beautiful instrumental music then fills our home, sets the mood for our sabbath day, and invites the Spirit to abide in our home. Do you listen to uplifting music on Sundays? Here are some great ways you can listen to uplifting music.
- Music Player on LDS.org: Have you taken a look at the Music Player on LDS.org? It’s a great tool to use. You can use it on your desktop or download the app for your phone. This is what we use each Sunday for our home church.
- Hymns & Scriptures Activity: Have your children find their favorite songs in the Hymn book or the Children’s Songbook. Read through the words of the song and discuss what it says. Then take a look at the scriptures listed at the bottom of the page. Read the scriptures and discuss.
Turn it into a game, Hum Your Favorite Tune! Have someone pick a song, and then have them hum the tune for everyone. Once someone has guessed correctly read the words of the song and the scriptures listed.
The last way to make your sabbath a delight is to take time to serve others. Russell M. Nelson said, “Make the Sabbath a delight by rendering service to others, especially those who are not feeling well or those who are lonely or in need. Lifting their spirits will lift yours as well.”
- Bake treats and deliver them to family, neighbors, ward members, or friends.
- Write a letter to missionaries, family or friends.
- Visit the sick, elderly, and loved ones.
What other acts of service have you or can you do to make the sabbath a delight?
You have a list of great sabbath day activities, now you need a plan.
If this list of ideas has you feeling a little overwhelmed try splitting up activities and assigning an activity for each week of the month. Here’s an example:
- 1st Sunday: Family History Focus, Set Goals
- 2nd Sunday: Service, Mormon Messages or other Online Resources
- 3rd Sunday: Read & Report from Church magazines, Illustrated Scripture Stories,
- 4th Sunday: Individual Interviews, Family Games (create some with a spiritual twist like Charades, Pictionary, 20 Questions, etc.)
- Every Sunday: Lesson, Family Council, Work on Goals, Study,, Uplifting Music
Does your sabbath day schedule/activities need some modifying? Take some time this week to sit down and make a plan and a schedule. Use the ideas shared today or come up with your own. There are so many great ideas out there. Get your family involved and come up with a plan together.
I know that as we make changes and strive to keep the sabbath day holy, we will be blessed. Here’s one more quote from Elder Russell M Nelson, “Faith in God engenders a love for the Sabbath; faith in the Sabbath engenders a love for God. A sacred Sabbath truly is a delight.”
We would love to hear how you plan on making the sabbath a delight. Do you have any traditions that you and your family do?Sheena Perron is the founder of Little LDS Ideas and Seek Christ Daily. Her mission is to help others become seekers of Christ through uplifting online content and events. She has been featured in the Ensign, Deseret News, and KSL Radio. Follow Sheena Perron on Instagram and Facebook