Letting Your Lil Light Shine | day 27: start a Sabbath tradition

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Today's post is from Amanda. We met through The Influence Conference. She was the only other Adventist there (to my knowledge) other than my sister-in-law and me, and grew up near where I lived in my early teens. I asked Amanda to share about Sabbath traditions, and she came up with some great ideas for starting your own Sabbath traditions. Check into her blog www.ohamandaleigh.com for updates. (She's currently switching hosts, so it's under construction.)

>> I was born and raised as a (seventh-day) Sabbath keeper in the rolling hills of Tennessee. And to be honest with you, when non-Seventh-Day Adventists ask me how I always lived this way….I have to say, it was pretty simple. (I mean, have you seen the rolling hills of Tennessee?! Gorgeous.)

We had so many warm traditions that upheld the Sabbath idea and so much nature to take in where we are from that it was just like breathing to me.

Sabbath was a given and completely normal for us. What I want to share are some of the most memorable ways we honored this 24-hour period of rest and how simple it really is for anyone to do.

1 | Turn off the television.

And I know what you're probably thinking. "What? No Friday night X-Files?" (Yes, I'm aging myself here.) "No Saturday morning cartoons?"

Well, um…no. We spent a lot of that time listening to Christian music that we loved. Fellowshipping with friends. Going to bed early and sleeping for 12 straight hours on a Friday night. We actually TALKED to each other. Novelty, eh? I have never missed watching shows during the Sabbath hours because there is so much more to life than TV. (I was actually usually reading.)

What we DID do:

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2 | Nature hikes + leisure walks. My entire childhood was spent camping on the weekends or spending an entire Sabbath day at a nearby nature park while having our own little church service with friends, then a picnic-potluck lunch, naps on big quilts on the lawn or hikes out on the trails. Sometimes it would lead into the actual sundown hour and we would have Sundown Worship to close out the Sabbath. My dad played guitar for us to sing and more likely than not, it was around a big ol' campfire.

And now as a mom, I crave that. I really can't think of anything much more restful than a day spent in God's nature & enjoying it with family and friends like that. I can't imagine NOT resting for 24 hours on Sabbath. It refreshes you. And believe me, the work will wait.

3 | One of my favorite traditions….Friday Night Suppers.

Oh, these were the best. I grew up in a small town where I could walk to my grandparents house down one side of our street and then to my aunt & uncle's house down the other side. Every Friday night, my entire family would meet at my aunt's home. Aunts, uncles, 1st cousins, 2nd cousins, and every friend that we kids could scrape up would show up around 6pm for the weekly Breakfast for Supper meal. My mom and her sisters would cook big batches of scrambled eggs, hash browns, stripples (fake bacon), soy sausage patties and links, and biscuits with gravy and serve a houseful.

We would all arrive in time to cut up and laugh and it was always a funny thing to watch a friend's face who was joining us for the first time as they watched our family in awe. We were loud, and sarcastic, but most of all, we were fun-loving and welcoming. My friends from elementary school & high school still talk about those Friday Night Suppers and I truly miss it.

Now that we are scattered all over the place it's a rare thing, but as my children are growing older I am going to do my best to recreate such a feeling of belonging in our home for our family and their friends. What a "coming home" feeling it was and a sense of community!

4 | Have we talked about vespers? This is an Adventist's Friday night worship, which I believe you've already read from Trina. We would leave our supper and those of us in the middle school/high school age group would head on over to our church for the worship program at 8pm. We rang in the Sabbath with family & friends in so many ways that it was hard not to be excited about Sabbath approaching.

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I could ramble on and on about the things we did that became traditions, but it would take more than one post. I think you get the point though.

Spend family time.
Take a nap! (That's a HUGE activity on Sabbath afternoons for us right after lunch.)
Leave your work until the next day.
Take a walk.
Splash in the creek.
Go for a quiet afternoon drive.
Marvel at God's nature.
Breathe some fresh air for no other reason than to soak it up.
Plan a worship evening with other families and let your kids take over the song service and topics.
Create weekly Sabbath traditions to make the day special.

Trust me. It really refreshes you for the upcoming week and most importantly, you and/or your children will never forget those special times. They are the most beloved memories from my childhood and I am desperately clinging to them as I learn to raise my own babies.

Speaking of camping, we are doing just that this afternoon into Sunday morning with a large group of friends. We will definitely enjoy a warm chili supper by the campfire and worship God by closing out the Sabbath with all of our children in tow.

What a wonderful time, and Happy Sabbath to you! <<