The recent weather reminded me of something I wrote many years ago, when our girls were little, and a blizzard stopped the world for a while. I hope it encourages you as we anticipate more snow Saturday night.
Monday morning January 24, 2000, dawned bright and clear, but school was still out. The cold and light snow we had experienced the previous week and weekend had closed the roads and deposited several neighborhood kids on our doorstep, in our den, in the basement and in our bedrooms. They were everywhere! Eating the groceries, needing their mittens and boots dried and going through art supplies like snow in a frying pan. A few of them (including my two youngest) were home-schooled but most attended the elementary school down the street.
When my oldest daughter asked, “Are we going to school tomorrow?” My wife and I both said, “Yes! You, your sisters, the neighbors and all the home-schooled kids in the neighborhood!” Little did we know; the blizzard of 2000 was almost upon us.
But the storm had a different effect than might be expected. Unlike the previous week’s weather that kept only the schools closed, the blizzard brought the adult world to a standstill too. Fifteen inches of snow in eight hours forced everyone to “be still and know that I am God”. It created a snow sabbath.
Sabbath, at its most basic, means to cease from work. Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man.” It is an opportunity for the soul to re-establish the balance and equilibrium it loses by striving in the work place. We work in a world cursed by sin and that makes work difficult and draining. It taxes us spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Sabbath compensates us for the energy we spend dealing with our own sins and the challenges of working life. We need sabbath time. It restores us.
And if you’re one of those folks that “feels guilty when I relax” then sabbath can re-orient your perspective. I had “things to do, people to see and places to go” the next morning. But the snow sabbath forced me to realize once again that, “God can run the world quite nicely without your help thank you very much.” That single thought, a sabbath thought, will do more to relieve your stress than anything I know. God has worked and is working to provide for us. He wants us to know what it means to rest in him, to be humble enough to know that we can’t accomplish anything at all without him. So, we can trust him enough to relax, let the world go by, and enjoy the peace of a quiet day, or even the occasional blizzard.