Terry’s Take… Using TIME Wisely on Vacation

Well, it’s almost the end of summer and many families are planning that last holiday before school begins. I was listening to one of my favourite “Boomer” stations on the radio recently, and was surprised to learn that many of us are planning “staycations.”

A staycation is simply taking time off…but staying put at home. As I thought about this a bit, my mind conjured up what a “staycation with Jesus” might look like!

Taking a break from structured activities and school is good. Many parents are thrilled to have a break from it all but we shouldn’t lump God into the summer break category. It may sound silly but we need to be sure we’re taking Christ on vacation with us.

He never takes a break from us. No matter where we are, He is there. This should give us comfort. Whether it’s packing for a trip or just enjoying staycations at home, taking Christ on vacation is not hard.

Pack God in Your Suitcase

“He’s in here somewhere, I’m sure of it! Oh, there He is, under the sunscreen!”

Seriously, make it a priority to take your Bible, devotional, worship music, journal, whatever you need to be able to continue regular time with God while you’re on vacation.  I always take my daily prayer book and some form of a Bible, digital or hard copy.

Nature Discovery and Scavenger Hunts

At home or on the go, scavenger hunts are a great way to highlight God’s creations. If you’re headed out of town this is a perfect way to incorporate some God-centered learning with your family fun. You can look up scriptures about the things you find and talk about what day God would have created them. Explore in thought what it must have been like to see the Earth and all the inhabitants being created.

Take a moment each day to observe even the simplest of His wonders like the sunset, the birds chirping or the beautiful views around you. I have a bird feeder that I can view either from my back deck or living room window. Watching the squirrels’ machinations in trying to get to the feeder is hilarious. And of course, whenever a cardinal lands to take a snack, I still marvel at how brightly coloured they are.

Family Devotional Time

Make time for family devotions even on holiday.  Pick a time when you’re all together (over a meal, right before bed or first thing in the morning) and read a devotional. The devotional I use is entitled “For All The Saints” and it’s available from the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau. (www. alpb.org)  I’ve used this prayer book for many years and have found that it keeps me focused on the unfolding liturgical church year. I highly recommend it.

Keep an Eye on Your Values

We go away and we always keep an eye on our valuables. But don’t forget to keep an eye on your values too.  It’s hard when you’re with family who aren’t believers or who don’t have a thriving spiritual life, but remember, we’re called to be salt and light. This by no means gives us license to point fingers in judgment, or measure up their walk with ours. But we can be salt and light quietly by making decisions that are in line with our beliefs and even simply doing what we’d do at home.  If you pray over meals at home, pray over them on vacation. If you feel led to pray for a stranger, do so. If you need to pass on an outing or engagement, do so politely.

Seek His Will for Your Vacations and Outings

Don’t forget to seek His will for what you’re supposed to be doing this summer. Is it a time to pause and relax? To dig in to fixing issues in your home? For reconnecting with your family? What does He want you to do this summer? It sounds simple but the easiest way to keep God in the center of your summer is to seek His will for it.

Information about “For All the Saints” devotional from the ALPB website:

Compiled and edited by Frederick J. Schumacher with Dorothy A. Zelenko and Members of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, White Plains, NY. Published by American Lutheran Publicity Bureau.

This set of 4 pocket-sized, beautifully bound volumes is designed to be used for daily prayer and Bible reading by Christians everywhere. Based on the two-year daily lectionary in the Book of Common Prayer and the Lutheran Book of Worship, the volumes cover a 2-year period. Each volume measures 4″ by 6″ with a gold-stamped, leather-like cover, durable sewn binding, ribbon markers, and over 1300 pages printed on high quality lightweight Bible paper.