Vacation or Holiday?

We are in the holiday period at the moment, when school is out and many people in our part of the world go away for a while to seek a warmer climate.  We often use the term ‘vacation’ to talk about this kind of time, but from a Christian point of view that might not be the best word to use. A vacation implies that we ‘vacate’ our normal lives and leave them in order to have a rest and to finally enjoy ourselves. In contrast, the word ‘holidays’ comes from ‘holy days’, the special days of the Christian calendar when people used to rest and focus on worshipping God and having special celebrations and feasts together. This is still part of ‘normal life’, but a part that is set aside as special in order to spend time with God and with others. This ‘holiday’ idea is similar to the idea of the ‘Sabbath’ which we find in the Bible. The fourth of the Ten Commandments tells us to ‘Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God’ (Exodus 20:8-10). When God finished the work of creation, he rested to enjoy what he’d made. I think it’s helpful for us to think of our vacations and our weekends as holidays, or even as a Sabbath, part of the rhythm of our lives that brings us a time to rest and enjoy that God is good. Then we might find it easier to experience joy in our work and our other responsibilities when we return to them.