I grew up in a church-going family in a church-going town in the Midwest. Most everything was closed on Sundays and if a store was open, it had very limited hours. We also all knew the town pharmacist and if needed he could be reached at home on a Sunday afternoon and he would be all-too-happy to go in and fill an emergency prescription. This is what we in Mormon culture would refer to as "the ox in the mire" situation. (Luke 14:1-6)
In essence, I was raised that Sunday is a Holy Day and we are to set that day aside to rest from our labors and participate in activities that are uplifting. To many of us this might mean we visit with family or visit and serve the sick, the elderly or the needy. I remember many Sunday evenings my dad would take a drive out to his parents' house. Being Amish, they had no phone and he liked to check in on them from time to time. Sometimes some of us kids would go with him. Sometimes the visit was a formally planned one and other times just a "drop in" to say hi. Either way, we were always welcomed and it was always nice to spend a Sunday evening at Grandma's and Grandpa's farm.
Sometimes on Sundays we'd invite a family from church over for dinner and we'd get to know them a little better. As far back as I can remember my parents usually did this when we had new members move in. As kids we enjoyed it too, especially if that family had kids near to our ages.
More often than not, we spent our Sunday evenings quietly at home. We'd come home from church and everyone would pitch in to make a big meal and then we'd eat the big meal. After that, we sort of all did our own thing. Some would take naps, others might read, a few "slackers" might have some homework to finish, etc. As the evening time would roll around my dad would often turn on his Celtic radio program and pop popcorn. Usually someone would volunteer to make a batch of brownies or cookies and sometimes there would be ice cream too. Sometimes we'd gather around and watch a movie on tv or something. But something I always remember is falling asleep on the couch and taking a Sunday nap.
When I got to college the campus cafeteria was open for a big lunch and then for Sunday dinner it was an "express" meal. Which basically meant brown-baggin' it. I remember taking a nap in my dorm room between meals.
When I got married and started having children, pregnancy definitely kicked my butt. Some people would get that pregnancy glow. I always had the pregnancy blahs. Sunday naps became more important to me back then.
Then, after moving to Utah I started to work for the airlines. I worked a late night shift until the middle of the night and often got home between 2:30am and 3:30am. I had to have my Sunday naps then just to recover from my shifts. I don't think I have had a good night sleep in years because of that job.
Anyway, I just got in the habit of having my Sunday naps. It is such a habit that my children always expect it. In fact, it's probably the only time I can nap uninterrupted. If I ever try to sneak a nap somewhere in the middle of the week, it is inevitable that one of them needs something, and they will not hesitate to disturb me.
But Sunday is different. I need my Sunday naps, more now than ever before. It helps me recover from my busy week, and gets me off on the right start for the week ahead. I can tell a difference if I do not get my nap and my mind and body ends up paying for it all week long.
Someone recently asked me how I can "afford" to take that long of a nap every Sunday. My answer was that I have to PLAN to take my nap. I plan things around my nap time. I plan the type of meal around the fact that I will have an afternoon ciesta.
I think that is in part the key... In order to enjoy a restful Sunday, one must prepare to have a day of rest.
I think that when the Lord commanded us to rest from our labors for a day and to have a day of rest, it is because He knew I'd need it! And I am all too happy to oblige. :)
In addition to resting, I have recently done a bit if a self-assessment and pondered what I am doing to make my Sundays more meaningful, to set that day apart from the others. I definitely have the "rest" part down, but I am sure there is more that I can do. Definitely something to consider.
That being said, I am off to take my nap... I hope you get a little rest today too!