I sit here this afternoon on a Labor Day, Holiday Monday, racking my brains for a good, meaty blog topic. Unfortunately, I am not inspired. I’m tired. I need a holiday.
This has been a busy summer. While things have not been quite back to normal, it’s better than the lost summer of 2020, when lockdown kept all of us utterly homebound. In 2021, people were actually venturing out, and the summer did have a feeling of increased latitude. Lots of staycations and plenty of beautiful Canadian hotspots to explore, and most folks managed a little get-away. Most, that is, except me.
Vacations, the way others experience them, have not been a strong feature in my life. My bad. I’ve chosen a lifestyle that does not include or support exotic, lavish vacations. For a real thrill, I occasionally make it all the way to the big city to visit my sister. Admittedly, she spoils me nicely, but Calgary is a far cry from lounging blissfully under a beach umbrella in the Bahamas. Doesn’t quite cut it against yacht excursions meandering the Cote D’Azur.
It’s natural to long for a break from regular routines and the same old beaten path of everyday life. Planning the novelty of a new experience, anticipating unknown places and then saving painstakingly is a considerable driving force in the life of most working-class types. We get tantalizing glimpses into these elite locales through the Instagram lives of the rich and famous, to whom no privilege is out of reach. These snatches of beauty and exclusivity fuel our dreams. In our generation, seeing how many country’s stamps you can collect on your passport is unspoken snobbery status at its highest.
It’s not surprising our daydreams stretch the world’s breadth in our yearning for seasons of rest and relaxation. Exploration and recreation give the mind both excitement, questing and peace. These needs are fully programmed into our DNA. Scour the Old Testament, especially the lesser-read pages of the Pentateuch, and you will discover Holiday is actually commanded. The Lord built days of rest and commemoration into the very fabric of the Jewish culture. Three times a year, every male was to appear in Jerusalem, for high festivals. The feast of Weeks (Pentecost), the feast of Booths (Sukkoth), and Unleavened Bread (Passover) are the major calendar celebrations upon which the rhythm of the year was fixed, but there were many others besides. In the story of Esther, triumph was marked by a new holiday, Purim.
And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar, as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor. Esther 9:20-22
Here's a secret. For those who daily seek His face, the Lord provides the spiritual and mental escape we so desperately require. His presence is the resort, the refreshment and release we are actually desperate for. We don't even begin to understand the myriad of ways we are restored and rejuvenated in that place of communion. Ultimately, no matter how many vacations we enjoy, He is the refuge and luxury we deeply crave. It's not that we can't explore and take pleasure in the many gorgeous and unusual spots of the earth, but He’d like to be the first place we run to when we need a break. He wants to be our desired haven.
I run for dear life to God, I’ll never live to regret it. Do what you do so well: get me out of this mess and up on my feet. Put your ear to the ground and listen, give me space for salvation. Be a guest room where I can retreat; you said your door was always open! You’re my salvation—my vast, granite fortress. Psalm 71:1-3
What’s your ideal vacation? How do you get away from it all? Where do you really relax? These days, with so many incredible options and the ability to transport almost anywhere, your wildest dreams could come true. We’ve certainly had a long enough time to plan! What place fires up your imagination?
If I could have anything I wanted in a holiday, what would I choose? I truly don’t know. It seems so out of reach. Right now, a quiet cabin at the lake would be heaven.
cb Image by Bing