I recently walked past a grocery store display that sparked the idea for today’s blog. The sign posted near the product suggests one can simply cook this item and have that Sunday dinner feeling ANYTIME. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a hater…in fact I love the idea of people gathering around the dinner table. I am skeptical, however, of the premise that any food can re-create Sunday. Allow me to use the Grinch analogy to explain.
If you’ve ever read How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1957), you know that the Grinch learned an important lesson when his plan to prevent Christmas failed miserably:
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
The Grinch discovered that the members of Whoville still gathered together and gave thanks despite their losses. The true wealth and strength of the community had not been broken, just changed, perhaps even strengthened in these moments of adversity.
As Catholic Christians, we are familiar with The Fourth Commandment, Keep Holy the Sabbath. On Saturdays instead of Sundays, our Jewish brothers and sisters also honor the sabbath in their faith tradition. An important part of keeping sabbath begins long before Sunday (or Saturday) dinner. It’s the gathering as a faith community for Mass (or synagogue). Sunday dinner for many of us is the endcap on a day that begins with prayer and thanksgiving.
Here’s a little Merciful Moments assignment for you. Think back to your Sunday traditions as a child and compare them to your traditions now. Are you doing something to make Sunday special? It doesn’t have to be “Pinterest special,” but is there anything you do differently on Sunday to honor the sacredness of the sabbath? I challenge you this fall to re-set your Sundays if necessary, to re-connect with sabbath.
This blogger has some fond memories of Sunday “family day” as a child. I’ll bet others may remember Sundays beginning with church, an early Sunday dinner and Sunday drives often just for the scenery and nothing else. The meals may or may not have been fancy, but there was some undisclosed ingredient baked right in that somehow made Sundays special. Maybe that ingredient was love, or time, or hope? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I want to keep our Sundays special so that I never take sabbath for granted. I don’t want to buy into an instant-gratification culture of having Sunday dinner when I want it and where I want it. I want Sunday just as it comes every seven days, gathered with our faith community at the start of the day and ending with family, together.