From Chaos to Calm: Day Thirty
The Preparation Day
Scripture Memory: “And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.” Exodus 16:23
Since the beginning of time, Friday was the Preparation Day. Women would spend Friday preparing for the Sabbath. The Sabbath was to be celebrated and “called a delight.” (Isaiah 58:13) The only way to truly be able to enjoy the Sabbath day is to have our hearts and our homes prepared for a Sabbath day’s blessing.
Each week, from Sabbath to Sabbath we should be preparing for God’s holy day. The Sabbath, or the day we set aside to worship our Father in heaven, should be the center of all of our activities – not because we are bound by the law, but because Jesus is the center of who we are.
I love how, Yara Cerna Young explains this in her book, Oh No It’s Sabbath Again: And I’m Not Ready! (1) She states:
“As Sabbath has become less of a special day, we have grown up with less guidance for how to prepare for it. Role models in this area are few. Whom can we turn to for instruction? … I’m sure the Lord doesn’t want us to miss the blessing we can have from the Sabbath. He knows how desperately we need this important time – especially in such a complicated age! In love, He has given us a weekly reminder of His sovereign power in our lives. Each week we receive one more opportunity to draw closer to Him, one more opportunity to glorify Him. The Lord intended the Sabbath to be a time of celebration, but too many of us are not having fun anymore!”
So, how are we to make the best use of our time in preparation for the Day God has set aside just to be with us? The key is getting organized. That is what this challenge is all about! By taking steps to get our lives in order, we will in essence allow more time to prepare our hearts and homes for the Sabbath.
In my own home, Friday is the day I do a good portion of my Sabbath preparation. The children and I ensure that all the chores are completed by Friday afternoon. I prepare a meal for the Sabbath to be eaten after church (or for potluck). This way, I do not have to slave over the stove and waste the beautiful hours of God’s holy day.
We enjoy having a special dinner on Friday evening to welcome the Sabbath. I put fresh linens on the table and use my best dishes. I even have special Sabbath plates that my little ones love.
I love looking at the Jewish traditions to find new ways to ensure my family finds the Sabbath a true delight. As keeper of my home, it is my responsibility to see that everything is prepared and ready for my family. The children do help. I oversee their activities so that they do have a part. The Proverbs 31 woman “looked well the ways of her household.” She was a good manager which means she knew how to delegate the jobs at hand!
If your home is in order throughout the week, you will have less to do on Friday. I hate it when we welcome the Sabbath with chores undone. I find it harder to rest! This Friday, see what you can do to prepare for the coming Sabbath.
Here are some ways to make the Sabbath evening even more special:
- Light candles on the table and around the house.
- Sing a beautiful song together as a family such as “Day is Dying in the West”.
- Have special nightgowns for your daughters and special pajama’s for your sons.
- Learn more about the way Jewish people celebrate the Sabbath and incorporate some of those traditionsinto your own Sabbath routine.
I had the recent pleasure of learning to make traditional Jewish Challah bread. It was much simpler that I had believed possible! So I want to share the recipe here:
Jewish Challah Bread
In a small bowl: Add 1/2 cup warm water, 3 tsp. active dry yeast, and a pinch of sugar – set aside. Mix until all the yeast is dissolved.
In a large bowl: Mix: 1 cup water or milk, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 cup mashed potatoes, 4 tbs. + 2 tsp. sugar and oil, one egg and 3 cups unsifted bread flour (- 1 cup at a time). Whisk the mixture until smooth. Add the yeast mixture. Add 1 cup flour and switch from a whish to a spatula or wooden spoon. Gradually beat until you make a stiff but soft dough.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface or knead in bowl until smooth and satiny. It should feel smooth and soft like a baby’s bottom – not sticky. Add flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Divide dough into two sections. Divide each section into four equal parts. Roll each section between hands to form a strand about 18 – 20 inches long. Place four strips on a greased baking sheet or parchment paper, pinch tops together, and braid. Repeat with remaining four strands.
How to Braid: Sprinkle or rub a small amount of flour on each strand to keep braid from coming together. Begin with right hand strand, place it over second strand, under third, over fourth. Repeat always starting on the right side. When you get to the end, fold ends under pinching together.
Rise: Allow bread to rise in a warm area until doubled in size. Tip: place near stove and boil a pot of water to prevent it from drying out. After bread has risen, use a soft pastry brush to brush a beaten egg over the top. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.
Bake: Bake in a 350 degree over for 30 – 35 minutes or until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
This bread is wonderful served warm with sweet butter. I like to make my bread on Wednesday to allow the yeast to become inactive before eating which I find to be more healthful. I wrap the loaf in foil and warm it in the over before serving. The two loaves represent the double portion of manna that God provided on the Preparation day. God is always faithful to provide what we need when we are faithful to serve him!
Your assignment today is to plan for the Sabbath and incorporate it into your schedule.
1. Oh No, It’s Sabbath Again And I’m Not Ready! by Yara Cerna Young is available on www.amazon.com.
2. Visit http://judaism.about.com/od/sabbathdayshabb2/p/friday_evening.htm for more information about how
the Jewish people celebrate the Sabbath.
Click to Listen
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- Judaism 101: Shabbat
- Making Sabbath Special
- Sabbath Kids Activities
- My Sabbath Bag – Activity Bags for Church Worship
- Ideas for Family Worship
Printable Family Worship Planner:
How do you prepare for the Sabbath? How can you make the Sabbath more meaningful for your family?
Homemaking is so much more than cleaning a house, cooking food, and making sure your family has clothes to wear. Homemaking is about nurturing a spirit of warmth, comfort, and love in your home.