This half term my wife, Kirsten, and I (with our son Joshua happily in-tow) were able to enjoy a fantastic break in Brittany with some good friends. Brittany is a lovely part of France and we were with great company enjoying great food and great weather. We had a fantastic time, not least because our walk with Jesus continued on holiday… all thanks to an accidental ‘stowaway’ in our car.
As you can probably see, I love holidays. In fact, I really love holidays. What is there not to love: no work (well, not the vocational type, anyway) and plenty of rest and play. Kirsten can read all day in the sun while I pootle, play and bundle Joshua ’till we’re all tired out from laughing and giggling. The normal pattern of life ceases and instead a new pattern – the holiday pattern – takes over.
Obviously, there are some things that we continue to do on holiday that we normally do at home: get up (albeit quite later than normal), brush our teeth, get dressed, eat, drink, etc. These things are essential to day-to-day living, regardless of whether we are on holiday or not. It stands to reason, then, that spending time with God in his word and in prayer will naturally be one such essential part of our day-to-day routines as Christians that we would carry over into our holiday routines. Hmm…
I’m sure I’m not the only one who often remembers to pack his Bible only when he is over 500 miles from home. The war against sin has indeed been won by Christ on the cross, but our daily skirmishes with temptations and sin carry on nonetheless. Making sure I don’t take a ‘break’ from my time with the Lord when I go on holiday is one such skirmish I often loose.
This half term however, by God’s grace, I remembered to leave our Bibles in the car on the Sunday before we left. Erm… no, wait a minute, that’s not true. I actually forgot to take them out of the car… and I’m glad I didn’t! Not only were we able to enjoy fantastic sunshine but we could also enjoy the benefits of Jesus death on the cross and a restored relationship with God by spending time with him each day. Plus, all of us on the holiday were Christians and so we enjoyed worshipping our great God together by reading a Psalm and giving thanks in prayer on the Sunday.
Rest (typified in the Bible by the Sabbath, the one special day of rest out of every seven) is a gift from God (Exodus 16:29-30) for our benefit, and holidays are superb opportunities for such rest. But rest is not just physical, it is also very much spiritual. Work wearies us physically because it is cursed spiritually (Genesis 3:17-19). Usually we only rest physically, enjoying spending time with our friends and families, but it is also essential that we rest spiritually, by spending time with our Father in Heaven.
So, as summertime approaches, I am learning the lesson of this half term and will be buying a family ‘holiday’ Bible to keep in our suitcases. That way, I can be sure that my family and I will be able to rest fully and properly as God intended whenever we go on holiday.