When I opened the door of the china cabinet to carefully pull a platter out among the crystal and silver, the Shabbat candlesticks caught my eye. H picked them out for me while on a trip to Israel a few years ago.

He stopped suddenly on his jaunt through the living room when he saw me holding them up to the low afternoon light filtering through the window making the blue glass translucent. “Hey, why haven’t you used those,” he asked. That’s when I got the idea.

Observe true Sabbath. Every week.

On Saturday, as the sun began its descent, I stopped packing ornaments in attic boxes, put the candlesticks on the island in the kitchen and watched the light flicker toward peace. Left dishes in the sink, vacuum parked next to the empty Christmas tree, sat down and closed my eyes to welcome rest.

And a few hours later, while I lounged in front of the television with my family sans a computer on my lap, I turned to H and admitted, “This is so hard for me.”

Oh I had the lists rolling through my mind of things I could be doing while sitting there: Addressing thank you notes, organizing my editorial calendar, responding to comments and emails, making grocery lists. But I let it all go. To watch the Notebook for the cazillionth time.

“I know,” he said, “But this is good. It’s the first time you’ve been engaged with the family like this in a while.”

His admonition alone makes observing Sabbath worth every minute but it’s about more than just engaging with my family. I’ve noticed it in the summer, during our two week family vacation and over our Christmas break. The way joy and perspective return in seasons of intentional rest and break from routine.


For most of my life, Sunday ends up being a weaker version of the rest of the week. I take a nap or read a book after church but I’m usually pulled like a magnet to productivity after I’ve had those few hours to rest. And Sabbath isn’t about resting so I can be more productive. It isn’t about me at all.

Sabbath is the beholder of beauty. The binoculars capturing the panoramic view behind the Plexiglas wall of creation, where time stands still long enough to see grains of sand without touching them.

And I’m thinking if this is something hard for me to do, then maybe it’s hard for you too. So I’m proposing the Surrendering to Sabbath Society. A sisterhood of fellow pilgrims hungering for more of Him.

Want to join me? Observe true Sabbath together this year?

And I know heeding one of the Ten Commandments doesn’t save my soul. But it refines my faith in a meditation of unfathomable beauty. Now instead of resting to make it through the next week, I’m working my way toward renewal, with Sabbath as the destination.

Because one day a week, it’s good to take my hands off creation and remember why I create.


If you are interested in joining me in the Surrendering to Sabbath Society, if you are saying, “Yes, I’m all in,” subscribe here.

What’s in it for you?

Weekly encouragement and conversation with you about making your Sabbath successful. And I’ll share a quote or idea from one or several of you on my weekend post with a link to your blog if you have one. Let’s do this together, shall we?

Inspiration for this post comes from Chapter 1 of Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner and Chapter 4 of Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg. Other reads: Circle of Seasons by Kimberlee Conway Ireton and Rest of God by Mark Buchanan.

My friend Kristin Schell chose Sabbath for her one word this year, then joined with a friend to create 52 Sunday Suppers with family prayers. You have to go check it out!

I’m delighted to join the writing team at Imperfect Prose this year at Emily Wierenga’s place. Today’s writing prompt is Create. Won’t you come over and visit the link up of beautiful writers?