Making Vacation Time Matter

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Happy August to you. Have you had a chance to get some time away? I hope so. It’s vitally important to break away from your daily routine. It gives us a chance to spend time with family and friends, maybe catch up on movies and reading, and get some much-needed rest.

We Americans are really bad at taking vacations. No, we’re more than just bad at it; we stink at taking time off. Europeans have this thing figured out. According to, “Compared to people living in France, Germany, and Scandinavia, who routinely take as much as six weeks off annually, U.S. employees typically leave about 429 million paid vacation days on the table every year.” I can’t even wrap my head around that. We are most certainly on the opposite end of the spectrum from Europe when it comes to time off.

Why do we ignore the chance to take vacation? The thought of what awaits us when we return can be a big factor. For those who work in an office, reports the fear of work piling up during our absence is enough to keep us from ever taking a vacation. But then, of course, the stress from working all the time without a break can also take a toll.

Jesus knew the importance of getting away. We read in Luke that Jesus would often get away from the crowds, slipping away into the wilderness to pray. Jesus understood the need to retreat and recharge. In Mark, we find what Jesus told his disciples about the topic of taking time away. “He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” (Could this be the disciples’ version of working through lunch?)

Whether you have planned an elaborate trip or simply a few days for a staycation, I hope you’ll take some time off. I also hope you’ll consider making room for God in your down time. There are a lot of great devotions and meditations available. You can even find multiple Bible apps—they make for light packing!

Wherever you go in these last weeks of summer, know that your Trinity family is keeping you in our prayers. We look forward to hearing about your great adventures; send us a postcard if you get the chance. Safe travels.


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Trinity United Methodist Church is located in McLean, VA. Our weekly worship services are on Sundays at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. and on Wednesdays at noon. Sunday School is at 9:30 a.m. for children and adults. Children up to 6th grade are also invited to Children's Education during the 10:30 service. Adult Bible Study also occurs on Mondays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. Please visit our website for more information.

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