Planning a holiday this year? Hoping for some time away in the sun?

Planning a holiday this year? Hoping for some time away in the sun? Perhaps you have already booked somewhere to ‘get away from it all’. UK holiday firms are expecting a boom in bookings after lockdown ends! Holidays are a great opportunity to get away from normal life and the pressures that brings. We often indulge ourselves with good food and wine, a new book, some movies, or some experiences outside the norm. Sadly, we can over-indulge too, with sunburn and weight gain telling the tale! Did you know the word ‘holiday’ comes from the old English word ‘hāligdæg’ which literally means ‘holy day’ and was associated with special religious days? ‘Holy’ means ‘set apart’ so these days were special. Interestingly, God put holidays in place right back at creation. Gen 2:2-3 tells us “…so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (NIV) God instructed His people Israel to follow this example and stop all normal labour on what became known as the Sabbath day. The purpose of that day was to give them time to focus on their relationship with God. This would involve praise and singing, prayer, sharing a meal together, teaching one another about God and encouraging each other to remain faithful to Him. God also gave them other longer holy-days in their year – Passover, The Feasts of Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Weeks, Trumpets and Tabernacles, and the Day of Atonement. All were designed to teach them about God and His ways, and how they fitted into His plans. There were solemn aspects of contemplation within them as well as times of joyful celebration. Our Creator knows we need time off to ‘recharge our batteries,’ and Jesus demonstrated this with his disciples by taking them aside from the preaching work they were doing to rest. But God’s desire for us is to be ready for the biggest holy-day and celebration of all time – the return of Jesus to the earth - when there will be a great feast for all those who eagerly await his return. So perhaps when you next ‘get away’ on holiday, do not leave everything behind – take God and His word along too, and spend some time with Him to get ready for that amazing time.

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