Sometimes we get to a point that just taking a day to rest isn't enough to recharge. Having a time of worship isn't enough. Praying in the spirit just isn't enough. We get to be like a t-shirt I saw, "It's a beautiful day to leave me alone." lol
We need a change of scenery, a distraction by going somewhere for a week or more - and yet we may feel guilty about such things. Should we spend the money? Do we have the money to take such a break? What about all the work we have to do?
Israel had 3 'vacations' built into their yearly calendar, a calendar God gave them. What does it say to us that God mandated taking at least 3 vacations per year, each of which was at least 1 week long? (Plus travel time going to and returning)
Deuteronomy 16:16 commands that 3x a year adult males would have to come to the temple, and of course it was a family event. Those 3 required 'vacations' are Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.
In Luke 2: 40-52 we find 12 year old Jesus in the temple with the religious leaders during Passover. Verse 41 says this: "His parents went every year to Jerusalem for the feast of passover." That's every year. Every. Year. Family time!
Passover week included the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Sunday after the Saturday Sabbath of that week was the Feast of Firstfruits. This occurs in the March-April time frame by our calendar. In 2019 it is April 19-27.
A mere 50 days after Firstfruits came Pentecost, the 2nd required vacation. In 2019 Pentecost Sunday is June 9. About 4 months later was Tabernacles, which in 2019 is October 13-19. Most Israelites came before Tabernacles to attend Yom Kippur which was the week before, (October 9, 2019) meaning the fall 'vacation' was at least 2 weeks in length.
They had to walk wherever they were going. These trips to the city were not consumed with religious duties each day. Their temple duty amounted to making an offering on the festival, and then the rest of the week was theirs to do with as they pleased. So each week was a true family, community, and national vacation.
There were no cell phones in their day, so when they got out of town they truly 'unplugged' from their life back home. God mandated they leave their home and work for (3) week-long breaks (plus travel time), so it must be healthy for we human beings to recharge in this way.
Can we take a hint from God's command for these 'vacations' as to how He might lead us, some 3,400 years after this command was given? Their trips were low budget: Packing up, leaving home, walking or riding to the city, camping once there or staying at an inn, or with friends or family. They would be carrying money or grain or livestock for an offering(s) to the Lord and spending money. They probably enjoyed going to the 'big city' for shopping, meeting friends and more distant family. It sounds very similar to what we do today.
This was God's idea because He knew if left to ourselves, we'd work ourselves to exhaustion or worse!
Purpose to these breaks
When we realize these were whole family events, whole community events, we realize multiple purposes in the Lord's mind. Consider too that when Jesus was 12 his family left the city to return to Nazareth in such a jumble of people that they didn't even know where their son was! It was evidently a safe enough event they at first weren't concerned, thinking him to be with the other families.
How can we emulate what God built in to Israel's yearly calendar? To me it speaks of unplugging from electronics and plugging into the community and family around me. Of actually 'being there' in the moment. And by being there I don't mean physically there but on Facebook or texting with someone back home. It means no work, no social media other than those around me for that week. It speaks of alone time, just the family, seeing the sights, and meeting new people as well.
Look at the timing of God's 'vacations': April, June, October. In the northern hemisphere that is spring, late spring/early summer, and fall. After Tabernacles it was about 6 months to their next 'break'. God didn't require travel in the more difficult winter months which was considerate - that's how the Father is! So gracious.
What does your life look like?
After we renew our minds to the idea God invented vacations and would want us to emulate the example He gave, we are comfortable with justifying time off. After that comes the budget and planning. It is all a balance; Personal worship time. Praying in the spirit. Taking a full day off each week. Taking a trip somewhere to get you out of familiar surroundings of home and work and all the cares of the world. Balance...find that peace inside, and He will lead you on how to personalize your time of recharging your spirit, soul, and body.
New subject next week, until then,
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