Do you know a holiday romance victim? Maybe you’ve even been one yourself. Falling in love after just a few days of strolling along beaches and watching sunsets, romance that abruptly ends as you tear yourself away and return to rain-hazed Heathrow, queuing along the M25 suffering heartbreak all the way home. Yet, give it a week you begin to rethink your promises to fly back to visit your new love. Give it a month and your affections have faded – along with your tan lines – and you realise that back home, without the sunshine and sangria, your relationship was built on nothing more than the holiday feeling.
We’re all in danger of falling victim to holiday romance this summer during the Christian festival season – a holiday romance with God. Thousands of Christians gather together for events filled with exciting, soul-enriching worship and teaching that soon disappears when we return to the daily humdrum of life. After experiencing the festival holiday high, we can be left feeling pretty empty. It’s easy to profess your love for God, declare commitment to His cause and have a strong faith when you’re encased in the Christian festival bubble. The test comes when we’re back home. The bubble might not dramatically pop, but it begins to slowly deflate as Bibles are placed back on the shelf and festival wristbands begin to disintegrate.
It’s after the festival season that you learn whether your relationship with God is long-term or just a holiday romance. It’s easy to be in love with God when you have the support of thousands of others, but what happens afterwards? You try to carry on the festival feeling by rereading the notes you made during the inspiring talks – but you can’t connect in the same way. You listen to the worship songs, but it doesn’t feel the same as it did singing along with crowds of people. How can you get back that amazing feeling?
The problem is that we try and recreate the hype – and you can’t. You can’t recreate a holiday romance. It’s a fleeting and short-term thing. Trying to restore the high that we feel at Christian festivals will leave you feeling disappointed. God doesn’t want you to nostalgically dwell on how great things were when you felt close to Him; He wants to work on the relationship you’re in with Him, here and now. When you fly home from a holiday you leave behind the place and the people, but when you return from a Christian festival God is still with you.
God loved you before you even knew who He was. He loved you before the summer, and will continue to love you even when your tent has dried out and you can’t remember the lyrics to the songs. 1 John 4:19: “We love because He first loved us.” He was there loving you and waiting for you to love Him. God is calling you into a long-term relationship, not a holiday romance.