I’m probably the world’s worst complainer when it comes to the cold: I’m always cold, and an entire season devoted to freezing temperatures makes me question my sanity. However, there is one aspect of winter that I love: snow. Snow differs from a dreary winter day, and I daresay, it has magical qualities. Snow makes us freeze, both literally and figuratively. Yes, it’s cold on the temperature scale, but when the snow hits, it brings a pause into our otherwise busy lifestyle. Schools closed, offices closed, businesses closed, transportation delayed or cancelled: time freezes.
It’s almost as if God looks at our busy world, scurrying around with our to-do lists, and grants us with a serene snow day. A month ago, my small group challenged each other to take a Sabbath, a day of rest. Studies show that this is the most ignored rule in the Bible, with 90% of Christians not taking a weekly Sabbath. For the first time, I set aside 24 hours that consisted of no stress, no work, and a whole lotta Jesus.
That Saturday morning, I woke up, bundled myself in all of the warm clothes in my closet, and headed out. I knew exactly where I needed to go: a place that I’d avoided for three years, as it held some pretty cruddy memories. That weekend just so happened to be three years since those memories were made there, and I know Jesus had a hand in me taking a Sabbath exactly three years afterwards.
It wasn’t until a month ago that I realized how restorative taking a Sabbath can be. We all need a break from the busyness we bring on ourselves. I drove to the park, and spent several hours there, mostly wandering. The whole park had snow-covered trees and an undisturbed blanket of snow (completely magical). After wandering for a good two hours, I found myself perched on a rock by the frozen Potomac River, blissfully unaware of anything else in the world. I stayed on that rock for a long while, pouring out my heart onto clean pages and a silent world. It was beautiful, healing, and it made my heart yearn for another Sabbath.
On the seventh day, God rested. God, omniscient and omnipotent, rested. He set that example at the very beginning of time, and it appears in Scripture multiple times. I always used to think that the Sabbath was on a Sunday, but that’s not necessarily the case. You can take a Sabbath any day of the week, however it fits into your schedule. It’s more important to take a Sabbath on a Thursday or any other day, than to freak out because your Sunday is crazy.
God created the Sabbath not as a way to disrupt our busy lives, but as a way to calm us. For me, and I’m sure for other people too, I tend to work myself to death until I end up burned out, sick, and devoid of any motivation to continue. This is precisely why we need a weekly Sabbath. We know that God values hard work and a job done well, but He also values rest and recognizes the power of a break.
Sometimes we may not even realize how badly we need to rest until we actually take a break. This is exactly why taking a Sabbath should be something we put on our calendars every week.
Now, all those cruddy memories at that park have been replaced with new, better memories. And it has me looking forward to my weekly Sabbath.