Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Sabbath Routine

I keep the Sabbath like a Jew: from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. Recently I rearranged my schedule to work a half-day on Fridays, so I’m usually home by 1PM or so. From then until 6PM I’m with the kids playing, rough-housing, reading, running errands, exploring, etc. Last Friday I took my two oldest (Jonas, 6; Betty, 4) to tour the Blue Bell Ice Cream creamery, a veritable right of passage for local Brenhamites. We’ve been many times.

We eat dinner at 6PM and transition to our Sabbath rhythm. Every other Friday we have dinner with friends from our church community. Five households gather regularly for potluck and Wii. The kids run around or play games. At our best, we end the night with conversation and drinks on the back porch. On the weeks our family dines alone, we still eat at home but we’re much more relaxed: we eat together, maybe play Settlers of Catan or read or play outside. Usually no Wii. My wife and I are invariably asleep before 10PM, either way.

On Saturdays I get up 5:30AM or 6AM when we hear our toddler waking up and crying through the monitor on the nightstand. Henry and I are usually awake for about an hour before Jonas and Betty come running into the living room. Jonas and Betty make their own breakfast and I give Henry a graham cracker and peanut butter sandwich. Brandi gets up around 8:00AM or 8:30AM, at which point we’re usually ready for our second breakfast. Typically we go to Max’s Donuts in town; I get two jalapeno kolaches.

Our goal is make our Sabbath a day of rest. That means we don’t run a lot of errands or work around the house or keep ourselves busy. Currently our Sabbath is a work in progress. After donuts we go back home and most of the time do very little. We play outside; we may swim if the weather is nice. Or we stay in the house and paint or read. All of us read regularly, but on the weekends we’re over the top. It would not be strange for my six-year old to read 100 or more pages on ancient Egypt or Leonardo da Vinci on any given Saturday.

Our afternoons are filled with rest and reading. After lunch everyone “rests” for two hours. This means that everyone finds a place to be alone (inside or outside) to read, write, paint, draw, sleep, etc. Jonas will often read in “his” tree in our front yard. Betty will often choose a chair on the back porch. Brandi and I are usually in the living room or the back yard. But almost always we’re all reading.

Our day of rest usually ends with a family movie from Netflix or Redbox, or a Hyde family staple like Indian Jones and the Last Crusade or Fantastic Mr. Fox. After the movie we have our family devotional of reading, catechism, and prayer. The kids are in bed by 8PM. I preach on Sunday mornings so I often spent about an hour or so making final revisions to my sermon, before winding down with Brandi. Without fail, Brandi and I are fast asleep by 10PM.

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