Spirituality of holidays -a possible modern day Sabbath?
I don’t know what holidays are like for you but for me and my family they are times where we can rest and breathe, do things a little differently and at a different pace. They often involve lots of sleeping in, chilling, good food, good company and times to talk honestly about where we are at and what is going on for us.
I don’t know about your life but ours mostly is pretty busy 7 days a week, work and school 5 days a week family and sports commitments on Saturday and Church on Sunday and then it starts all over again. We have worked hard to introduce resting habits, sometimes at the expense of housework!
When we finally hit the holidays, like real holidays, where everyone has time off, we are usually pretty tired, but of course we don’t want to waste them so we go on adventures either around the country or the world. As part of this we will often make time to sit and be still, reading books appreciating the scenery, swimming and reconnecting with each other. I know that we are not alone in our lifestyle.
I wonder whether our modern day holidays are a longing for Sabbath? Time to reconnect with ourselves, our true calling and the depth of relationships with each other and our world and deep down time to connect with God. A reorienting of our lives and selves to a deeper life and understanding.
I love the Bible Projects explanation of Sabbath. Check it out here. Sabbath They talk about Sabbath being a day to rest and enjoy God’s good work. It is about connecting back into wholeness and completeness that comes from the concept of Shalom or Peace. This is often what I am longing for as I organise the plan for what is going to happen in our precious moments. Not just for me personally but also for my family.
So as I have reflected on this I am wondering, how do we include in our times away a connecting to God? A remembering of what it means to be truly whole?
I find that the journey to the destination are like a deep breathe (once you hit the road!) What if our journeys to our destinations were opportunities to reflect on the year that has been? or a discussion around the hopes of what is to come? Where have you seen God at work most powerfully? Where have you seen God in the little moments?
In light of this I have created a resource for people to take on holidays to help them to still connect with God. It covers 7 days plus a coming home day. Each day has a reading, a couple of questions to reflect on and a prayer. I thought it might be a useful tool for congregations to share with your families.
Another great idea I have seen is Flat Jesus . It is a cutout of Jesus that goes everywhere with you, reminding people that God is with you where ever you go. The congregations who have used it ask people to send photo’s to the Facebook page to show the Church where Jesus has ended up on people’s travels.
You can download the template for flat Jesus from Ascension Lutheran Church here and have a look at their instructions here .
Not everyone gets a chance to go on holidays so I have also created an ideas sheet for engaging children and young people spiritually while on school holidays.
Our busy lifestyles mean that the rushing can lead us to loose sight of what really matters to us even sometimes who we are. Re-orientating our holidays to be a time of reconnection and Sabbath is a great starting place. How could you bring the things you have learnt from that back into the rituals and habits of your everyday lives?
Remember if God and Jesus both took time to rest, maybe it is a really good thing for you to do too!
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Karen Mitchell-Lambert is ordained in the ministry of Deacon and is the team leader of PULSE.