I have just come back from my holiday in the West of Ireland. I had a lovely time, thank you. One of the things I came back to was my friend’s ordination at St Albans Abbey. So a holiday and holy day in short succession. Of course, holidays used to be holy days – the only days one was allowed off from work (if a peasant or merchant). It was a period for rest and celebration and all kinds of play. And it seems to me that in this area at least the Church has an excellent approach to play.
We enjoy our holidays and celebrate them, the Church is the mother of most public holidays, whether they have been appropriated from pagans (Christmas) or not (Spring Bank Holiday ie Whitsun). Yet we also stand outside them. The Church’s Christmas poster campaigns always draws attention to why we celebrate Christmas, the importance of that festival outside the consumerism and desperation that drives the other side of us to ever more extravagant partying and purchasing.
Similarly after my friend’s ordination we all retired, good Christian folk, to a marquee, champagne and some really good food! Holy days should be celebrated with the best things that Gods’ earth can offer and we can offer our enjoyment to God as we spend time in the company of our friends and take a rest from our usual serious approach to life.