It’s a Very Scriptural Thing to Do
These are My appointed times,Leviticus 23:1-3 (HCSB)
the times of the Lord that you will proclaim as sacred assemblies.
You are not to do any work; it is a Sabbath to the Lord wherever you live.
Have you ever looked at all the festivals and holy days the Israelites celebrated? The year started with Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They celebrated for a full week. For seven days the people of Israel would do no work and bring their best to God.
Fifty days later came the Feast of Weeks. Today we call it “Pentecost.” It was a single feast day to praise God for the harvest. About 4½ months later a trumpet blast marked the beginning of another one day feast for Israel, and then just ten days after that the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) gave them another day of mandatory rest. Finally at the end of the harvest season, five days after the last feast, the children of God were commanded to set aside seven more days to celebrate the Feast of Booths, a time to remember their ancestors lived in tents for 40 years as they wandered the desert.
Those five feasts offered the people of Israel seventeen days of celebration and no work. A New Moon Festival in each of the nation’s ten months and three more festivals added after the Jewish people returned from their exile allowed the people in ancient Israel to enjoy at least 27 days off every year. That doesn’t include the weekly Sabbaths or any kind of special sabbaths.
Every time I read the details of these festivals I understand even more that God wants His people to withdraw from work and come aside to learn about His love and grace. It causes me to look at how many days I actually set aside to just be with my Heavenly Father.
In the 21st Century, we often feel very guilty when we take time for ourselves; moms more than anyone. For moms who work outside the home, even our Sundays have become laundry or cleaning day. If you do have a day off from work, you’ll often spend the entire time cleaning, weeding or getting “caught up.” But how would your life change if you scheduled at least one day every week and another 25 days throughout the year when you did nothing but spend time with your heavenly Father and your family? 77 days a year with no cleaning, shopping or worrying about how much work there is to do. Could you do it?
God knows His children. He understands our bodies are completely human and must have rest. In His great love for us, He set aside the necessary time for our bodies to recuperate from the daily grind we know as life.
As you plan your weeks, I hope you’ll remember God created you for vacations. He may have called them festivals in scripture, but our modern day vacations can serve the same purpose. When you schedule your days off, remember to include activities that will help you worship your heavenly Father. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or go a great distance. Take a hike and immerse yourself in the beauty of God’s handiwork. Visit your local Science Center and enjoy the way the Creator set in motion the laws of gravity and the conservation of mass. Spend an entire day at a State Park swimming and rejoice that Christ began his ministry being baptized in a muddy river. The possibilities are endless and the memories you’ll create are priceless.
And in the midst of your busy life, take some time for you. Give your children a grand gift by spoiling yourself for at least a few days of your “vacation.” You were created to rest in Christ, and without that rest you can’t be all that Christ has created you to be. So go ahead, plan your festivals, give yourself permission to leave dust on your television and praise your heavenly Father for the example He set by calling the Israelites to spend some time just “being still and knowing that God is God.”