Earlier this week, I woke in the night to hear the rain beating heavily on the tent, a few inches from my head, and it hardly seemed to matter that the tent was actually on my lawn.


Earlier this week, I saw a headline about a student who had been going to travel, in a gap year I assumed, but who in the current global pandemic had decided to do their travelling virtually online instead, rather than ditch their plans completely. Before that I saw headlines about wedding couples making arrangements to celebrate with family and friends online after their original plans had to be abandoned. And a very brief internet search brings up a long list of ways to experience world travel from the comfort of your own home.


This week, we were supposed to be enjoying a holiday with members of our wider family. We decided to enjoy a holiday at home anyway, and then decided to share it with the family by sharing made up stories of what we are doing and places we are visiting, close to where we would have been staying. We have been thoroughly enjoying setting scenes, and creating photographs, and from the responses we have been getting, so have the rest of the family. The enjoyment that is still there when we swap a real holiday for a virtual one, prompted me to reflect on what we usually expect to get out of a holiday.


The word ‘holiday’ comes from Holy Day, the days celebrated as feast days by the Christian Church. Historically a ‘holy day’ might be a full day or a half-day off work. We don’t really know how much holiday our ancestors might have enjoyed, but it has been suggested that in the Middle Ages the total of holy days would probably have run to many weeks a year. A pattern of work and rest has been built into life for most people for centuries, if not longer. In the Christian tradition, this presumably grew from the biblical teaching of the need for a Sabbath rest. A key difference between these holy days and our modern holidays of course is that in the traditional holy days, a whole community would be on ‘holiday’ together, and would celebrate together.


  • What does a holiday have to include for you, for it to feel like a holiday?

  • In your holidays, how important is community sharing or community celebration?


Prayer for the week - 22nd May 2020


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