The dictionary defines a vacation as “a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation.” Vacation so used is an American word first put to use in the late Nineteenth Century as we were trying to figure out how to live as an urban and industrialized or professionalized people. It was a progressive idea. Paid vacations became an issue in the early days of unions and labor contracts. The idea was to vacate, get out of, the dirty air of the city, the oppressive working conditions and the deadly dreariness of the assembly line, the crowded life of the tenement or the row house. The sea shore, the lake, and the mountains; lodges, cabins, campgrounds, and hotels were favorite destinations.
A farmer on the land or a baker in a village would never have thought of a vacation. But vacations won. Together we spend over $100 billion per year on our vacations and an average family of four will spend between $5,000 and $10,000 on this year’s vacation. Three quarters of us will go into debt for our vacations.
Vacation. “Where are you going on vacation?” we ask, never thinking that some of us won’t or can’t. We may opt for a stay-cation, or, in my least favorite idea of all time, become “vacationaries” by handing out candy, cheap toys, or meaningless evangelism tracts at an orphanage in a poor country with beautiful beaches.
Vacation. Becky and I leave for vacation next Wednesday. We can hardly wait to get out of the dirty air of the city, the oppressive working conditions and deadly dreariness of the assembly line, the crowded life of the tenement. Okay, some things have changed. But, still, we can hardly wait. We’ll be in Washington state where the mountains are high and the lakes are blue. Best of all we will be with four of our grandkids (and their mom and dad). We can hardly wait.
To vacate: to empty. Our empty schedule will be filled with Lego castles (actually, we hear the RMS Titanic may be this year’s theme) and books read on Grandma’s lap, trips to the park and maybe a root beer float or two.
The writer of Proverbs says, “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged” (Proverbs 17:6). He probably did not have Legos or root beer floats in mind. But that’s what this “period spent away from home or business” is going to be about. We can hardly wait.
We’re taking a vacation. Thanks be to God for such a good idea!
See you Sunday!