Jesus Our Shepherd
Starting Point
adapted from Mike Daley (teacher at St. Xavier HS in Cincinnati), NCR

I usually don’t look forward to phone calls at 6:00AM, but to day I did. The voice on the other end said, “Snow day! School’s cancelled!” A smile crossed my face as I rolled back into my pillow and drifted off to sleep for another hour. When I woke up, I looked outside. Mother Nature had pulled a white blanket up over herself. Everything seemed at peace.

It was a winter Sabbath, a day to stop and be still. Unlike God who rested and reveled in the goodness of creation however, I often appear unwilling or unable to do so. Even when offered, I tell myself I need to keep busy, either to catch up or not fall behind. My thoughts quickly were tinged with regret. How am I going to make up for this lost day of class? Well, at least I’ll be able to grade some papers or plan lessons.

In the midst of this situation, my son Brendan emerged. He wanted to play outside. We bundled up and played outside. Soon we were shoveling the driveway – he liked it! – playing in the snow and sledding. Though tempted to do other things, I was led by Brendan to a winter’s Sabbath, to a day of rest and relaxation. Rather than consumed by work and activity, I was able to stop and catch my breath. Following Brendan’s example, I opened myself to the present moment. I wasn’t thinking back or ahead. I was just having fun.

It is said that Voltaire, the famous French philosopher, once quipped, “If you want to kill Christianity, you must abolish Sunday.” In like-minded way, if you want to kill the human spirit, abolish the Sabbath. It would appear that we are close to achieving that goal. Still though, nature offers us moments when we’re able to ask ourselves who we really are: Are we workaholic consumerist robots or sons and daughters of the Living God?

How we need winter’s Sabbath in our lives!