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The Road to Jerusalem


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
No time to stand beneath the boughs
and stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
and watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
we have no time to stand and stare
(William Henry Davies)

The word "holidays" comes from "Holy days", a time set apart, when people could take an annual break from the grind of factories, mills and the like to relax and enjoy the peace and beauty of God's creation. But spare a thought for the children back then, the reason our school summer holidays are so long is because they were sent out to help the farmers gather the harvest. These days, many people take more than one holiday, in 2014 the average family took 2.4 breaks, spending an average of two month's salary on their main holiday. I overheard a conversation in the barbers the other day, I don't know where he went but the guy spent £11,000 and he thought it was a good deal! More parents are prepared to pay fines for absence at school than ever to get a good "off peak" deal from their travel agents. (Though as a school governor I should point out that your child's absence is not only detrimental to his or her education, but can have a knock-on effect on the performance of the whole class).

So it would seem even our "holy days" have been swallowed up by the monsters of materialism, hedonism and one-upmanship. And many of these so-called breaks are about as "holy" as a Rangers-Celtic derby match! Joan and I dread the hassle of the transfer buses, security searches and getting through the duty-free lounge without being sprayed by an over-zealous perfume sales assistant, so I have only sympathy for those poor parents who have to drag two, three or more screaming children through that same jungle. Even when you get to your resort you have to be up at the crack of dawn to get your towels on the sun-loungers before the Germans! So by the time you read this we will be relaxing on the North Yorkshire moors before the schools break up, and when they do we'll lock ourselves in the Vicarage for the remainder of the summer!

God gave us "holy days" for the same reason as He gave us the Sabbath. As I said above, the word "holy" means to be "set apart" for a time to rest in God's company to be refilled, refreshed and recreated. Why not give it a try? It costs absolutely nothing!
Yours in Christ


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