Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Every Sunday Mary and Laura were dressed from the skin out in their best clothes, with fresh ribbons in their hair. They were very clean, because they had their baths on Saturday night.

On Sundays Mary and Laura must not run or shout or be noisy in their play. Mary could not sew on her nine-patch quilt, and Laura could not knit on the tiny mittens she was making for Baby Carrie. They might look quietly at their paper dolls, but they must not make anything new for them. They were not allowed to sew on doll clothes, not even with pins.

They must sit quietly and listen while Ma read Bible stories to them, or stories about lions and tigers and white bears from Pa's big green book, The Wonders of the Animal World. They might look at pictures, and they might hold their rag dolls nicely and talk to them. But there was nothing else they could do. From Little House in the Big Woods in the chapter entitled Sundays

We all know the commandment in the Old Testament instructing us to "remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." Today, that is rarely followed in America. We go to church, but do we really keep the Sabbath holy?

"Six days you shall labor and do all your work

but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God.

In it you shall do no work:

you, nor your son, nor your daughter..."

Exodus 20:8

To may of us today, the Ingalls family may seem somewhat legalistic. But aren't they really just obeying the commandments? I am 37 years old, and in my lifetime I've seen Sundays change in our culture. When I was young, stores were closed on Sundays. If you didn't have milk, too bad. You just had to wait. Today, most stores are open, some with token Sunday hours (12-6), some with normal hours.
Now, I realize the New Testament gives Christians freedom from this command. But Romans 14:5 says to "let each be fully convinced in his own mind." I believe the Ingalls (Ma and Pa specifically) continued to obey this command out of respect for the Lord's day and because their conscience demanded it of them.
The Ingalls family followed all 10 commandments. They lived them. It was second nature, so it was easily passed on their children.
Bonus: Laura was 5 years old at the time this story took place. She was knitting! Mary was 7 years old, and she was making a quilt! That quilt is on display at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum in Mansfield, Missouri.

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