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To Holiday or Not… Is Not Really a Question

June 30, 2014

With summer (?) nearly upon us, it’s time to ask a seriously neglected question: are holidays biblical?

As I have been known to go on holiday myself sometimes – in fact, several times since we moved here – you may well wonder if I’m serious. I’m not sure, myself – but it’s an interesting question!

In the Bible, the word “holiday” generally refers to religious holidays, i.e. festivals or feasts. These usually involved a break from regular duties, even if only for a short time; but I think it’s safe to say that the idea of having a long time off work and going away somewhere to relax was not really an option for most ordinary people in Bible times!

So does that mean that it’s not possible to look at holidays from a biblical point of view? Not at all. Everything in life can, and should, be looked at from a biblical point of view. Being a Christian is after all a full-time occupation, and Jesus is Lord of all, not just Sundays!

The Bible tells us that Gods rested (ceased from his creative activity) on the seventh day after creating the universe. This became the basis for the Sabbath, a weekly day of rest – a pattern unique to the Bible – which clearly indicates that God knows we need to rest and restore our strength on a regular basis. Seeing that holidays are meant to achieve just that, it’s hard to say that they’re unbiblical, even if the concept doesn’t feature in the Bible!

For many of us, the goal of rest and recreation is better achieved by going away for a while, somewhere different, where we’re not constantly reminded of our everyday life and chores. This would of course imply that if you come back from your holiday more stressed and tired than when you left, your holiday didn’t fulfil the biblical criteria…

The over-arching question to ask, though, about holidays and everything else, is this: is it honouring to God? What does your holiday choice and behaviour say about your priorities and your faith? Would you be able to take Jesus along with you? If questions like that make you feel ill at ease, maybe you should take a closer look at your life in general. Remember what Paul says (1 Cor 10:31): “whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” For after all, that is an important part of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus!


From → Christianity, Faith, Jesus

  1. Susanne Rugg permalink

    I once heard a preacher who suggested that we can tithe our holidays. Let every tenth holiday be one where you do something useful, for example visit a missionary and bring their favourite goodies.

    • Interesting idea; could it work? I fear it might be too stressful for both visitor and missionary…

      • Susanne Rugg permalink

        Serious? We had several visits. Refreshing with fellowship from an outsider for a week, and the visitor goes home with photographs and fuel for prayer.

  2. We also received occasional visits from Sweden, although they were groups, and it was quite disruptive as we had to find accommodation for them and plan a “programme”. I guess it’s different if it’s just one or two, or people that you already know. (Annette’s parents came out regularly, for instance.) There was also the stress of constantly having to explain how things work, why we’re doing what we’re doing, and translate for them all the time…

    Having said that, there were obviously benefits as well, so I hope I don’t sound too ungrateful!

    And again, I seem to remember you’re quite a people-person, so having strangers intrude on your life might not have bothered you as much as it did Annette…

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