Holiday Season Word on the Week 31st July 2021.
It’s that time of year when cities empty out and the flight to the country begins.
Staycations not vacations have become the watchword in these Covid constricted times. In the midst of the joyful scamper to the seaside pity the poor President who has had to consider 19 Bills since the 1st of July.
Of course it is possible that not all Presidents would have been as diligent in their duties as Michael D. Higgins. He has suggested that a better way be found to avoid this unseemly end-of-term rush to have the Bills concluded. The record so far was to have 9 Bills deposited on his desk in one day! The rush is also replicated in the period before the Christmas holiday!
This focus on holidays masks the shrinking of work in Western countries. Many work less hours per week whilst technology permits increasing volumes of work to be done in the reduced time. The Covid pandemic has opened eyes to alternative work patterns that reduce or remove the commuting time.
In the Bible we seldom read of people taking a holiday. There was an occasion when King David ‘put his feet up’. He ended up in deep trouble! It was the time when Kings went off to war but David stayed in bed in his palace. One evening he got out of bed, saw his neighbour’s wife having a bath, coveted her and the rest is history (2 Samuel Chapter 11 verses 1 to 5).
What punctuated their year was Holy Days and Religious Festivals. These marked out the child’s growth in Judaism or acted as reminders of Israel’s history. These were times of great rejoicing and still are today.
With the coming of Jesus who fulfilled all that the Prophets foretold, rejoicing today occurs when a sinner repents and believes the Gospel (St Luke Chapter 15 verse’s 5 to 7). This ‘joy in heaven’ finds its echo in the hearts of converted sinners on earth as the Kingdom of God expands.
This expansion is the work of the Holy Spirit operating through believers. It was once thought to be the work of paid professionals in ministry but, whilst certainly not excluding them from witnessing it is primarily the task of believers to make Christ known (Ephesians Chapter 4 verses 12/13).
This is a task which believers are well suited for. Having themselves been bought by the blood of Christ they do not consider their lives to belong to themselves any more (1 Corinthians Chapter 6 verses 19/20). This frees them to have a ministry mentality, thinking about being part of what God is doing in the locations where he places them (St John Chapter 9 verse 4).
This gives a deeper meaning to all of life (holidays included!).