In just two short days, my husband, granddaughter and I will be heading out on vacation. We are both looking forward to our trip. It is nothing glamorous. We are not going to Hawaii or on an African Safari. What we are doing is, at least for us, just as exciting…we are heading back to Ohio for a family reunion. We will be spending our time visiting and reminiscing and having a lot of fun. I hope to catch up with as many of my high school friends as possible too. So my bags are packed (sort of) and the car is ready (sort of) and my house is cleaned (not) and I am ready to go (definitely).
I found it interesting, as I began to plan our vacation, (and based on a sermon by my pastor) that when we take a break from work or our regularly scheduled activities, we call them vacations. You see, the root of the word vacation is the Latin word, “vac” which means “to empty.” I don’t know about any of you but my vacations are far from empty. Sometimes I pack them too full of activities because I suffer from FOMO – the fear of missing out. (a term I learned from Adam Hamilton’s book “Unafraid”) So when I am on vacation, I typically have lots of things I want to do and this year is no exception! In fact, I have lots of people I want to see. My vacation this year as my vacations are every year, will be anything but empty. I believe, in all honesty, I prefer the English way of thinking about vacations. They call them “Holidays.” Holiday comes from an Old English word that means holy day and originally referred to religious days throughout the year. The word also has the connotation of something that is festive or joyous. I am thinking I may begin to refer to my vacations as holidays since they are usually very festive and joyous and definitely not empty!
As I continue to look forward to heading out on “holiday,” I can’t help but wonder why we don’t think about every day as a holiday? Why do we use the terms vacation or holiday only when we are away from our regularly scheduled lives? Why can’t every day be a holiday? An even better question might be: why can’t every day be a holy day? Within the Psalms there are 6 Psalms that are called the Hallel (Hebrew for praise) Psalms. They are Psalms 113 – 118. They give praise to God for everything. They are a wonderful way to begin each day. They are wonderful to read when your day is going well and when it is not going well. They are a wonderful way to close each day.
These Psalms along with all of Scripture help us focus our life…remind us that it is not about us but about how we can partner with God in this wonderful world God created and offer our praise for everything. It is a way to focus each day as a holy day…a day to give praise for the very breath we breathe. Because the truth of the matter is today is the only day you actually have. What we do with today matters. How we act, how we treat others, how we speak and the words we choose to use…all of it matters. Because the bottom line is that the choices we make today ripple out into our future. If we were to intentionally think of each and every day as a holiday…or even better think of each day as a holy day…then maybe the ripples in time would be filled to overflowing with goodness, mercy, and grace. And can you just imagine what our world would be like if it were filled with goodness, mercy, and grace? I think I think I would like to try. Holiday anyone?