I love this time of year, when we get glimpses of what summer feels like, but the flies have not come out in force yet. And then there is the holiday to plan if you can manage one. Feels good! Holidays. The origin of the word was of course ‘holy day’. It was God’s idea in the first place. The fourth commandment was to take one day in seven, and make it something special (Exodus 20:8-11). A day to remember. A day to think. A day to enjoy. A day to spend away from the pressure of everyday life, and enjoy hanging out with God, the family, friends…
In my childhood, most kids were not allowed to play out on Sundays; there were things you could and could not do; it was pretty restrictive. These days you hardly notice the difference between it and any other day of the week. Both of these expressions of ‘Sabbath’ miss the point! On that seventh day of creation, God rested and enjoyed the fruit of his labour, and that is precisely how he intends for us to use our day off – a blessing not a limitation. And that should go for everyone within our reach – exploitation is a no no. Everyone needs time to recharge their batteries. We were made for it.
In times when folk worked six long days in the mines, factories, mills and fields, they needed no encouragement to take a day off. Of course for those with small children, or carers, there are some tasks that can’t be left undone. The problem is that we have developed an attitude whereby we feel guilty if we are not busy. And often too, ‘workload’ can be something that fills the gap in our lives: the pretext for not spending more time enjoying God’s presence. Without the demands of work, we have no reason not to spend time with him, or the family for that matter. God made it a commandment because he knew we’d find that challenging. Not to order us to spend time with him, but so that we would develop a taste and a mindset to organise ourselves to leave one day a week as free as possible.
And that is a day to take off the pressure of everyday life, and enjoy being with God, family, friends… A best day. It’s a sin not to!