Keeping the Sabbath day holy as a family is a subject that can spark guilt. What's right? What's wrong? What are the gray areas?
In the latter days, the Lord has commanded that his people observe the Sabbath and promised that those who do will receive "the fulness of the earth." (See Doctrine and Covenants 59:16-20)
Hardly anything in a family goes as planned, says E. Jeffrey Hill, professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University. That applies to Sabbath-keeping, too.
At the recent BYU Women's Conference in Provo, he offered four Sabbath principles for families:
• Remember the Sabbath.
• Rest from daily labors.
• Worship God together as a family.
• Serve God's children with your family.
Hill said family relations are strengthened when two or more members are together "doing something that neither considers distasteful and at least one finds enjoyable."
He said it's important to take steps to make Sundays different from other days. His suggestions included:
• Make Sunday sound different. "Sabbath music sets a tone of reverence," he said.
• Make it feel different. Set aside quiet toys for Sunday that don't get used other days. Instead, watch Sunday videos or appropriate movies.
• Avoid playing everyday video games and watching everyday television shows.
• Refrain from shopping.
• Do meal preparations on Saturday.
• Go to bed early on Saturday night.
• Go to Sunday meetings together and pay attention to who sits next to whom to avoid disturbances.
For families who want to do even more, Hill suggested trying to get the hymn numbers ahead of time so the songs can be practiced during the week.
After church, parents can ask questions about what sacrament meeting speakers said and lead family discussions on what was learned during classes.
Sunday should be a day of service, he said. Good activities include inviting less active members to your home, visiting a retirement home, going to a hospital to visit the sick as well as the nurses who are working and serving in a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
"Making the most of the Sabbath should be an "exciting, guilt-free process," Hill said.
Other resources are available at www.lds.org. Go to gospel library, then click on gospel topics.