I know I am dating myself, but with this recent heat wave, I suddenly found myself humming the tune to Nat King Cole’s 1963 hit, “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer.”

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer

Just fill your basket full of sandwiches and weenies Then lock the house up, now you're set
And on the beach you'll see the girls in their bikinis As cute as ever but they never get 'em wet

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer You'll wish that summer could always be here

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer

Don't have to tell a girl and fella about a drive-in
Are some romantic movie scene
Right from the moment that those lovers start arrivin'
You'll see more kissin' in the car than on the screen

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer You'll wish that summer could always be here
You'll wish that summer could always be here
You'll wish that summer could always be here

Now admit it, you just sang this entire song and now have the tune stuck in your head (sorry). I do admit I appreciate summer and the warm sunny days. When I was growing up, I often heard of the “Dog Days of Summer.” I never gave it much thought as to where the name came from or what it actually meant.

by the Farmers’ Almanac Staff

We often hear about the “dog days” of summe,r but few know what the expression means. Some say that it signifies hot, sultry days “not fit for a dog,” others suggest it’s the weather in which dogs go mad. The Dog Days of Summer describes the most oppressive period of summer, between July 3rd and August 11th each year. But where did the term come from? And what does it have to do with dogs?

The phrase is actually a reference to the fact that, during this time, the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star visible from any part of Earth and part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog. This is why Sirius is sometimes called the Dog Star.

In the summer, Sirius rises and sets with the Sun. On July 23rd, specifically, it is in conjunction with the Sun, and because the star is so bright, the ancient Romans believed it actually gave off heat and added to the Sun’s warmth, accounting for the long stretch of sultry weather. They referred to this time as diēs caniculārēs, or “dog days.”

Thus, the term Dog Days of Summer came to mean the 20 days before and 20 days after this alignment of Sirius with the Sun—July 3 to Aug. 11.

So what do the hazy lazy days of summer, or if you wish, the Dog Days of Summer, mean to you?

  • Do you plan to take your beach vacation during this time or visit some other favorite vacation spot?

  • Or maybe you are planning what is known as a “staycation?” You simply stay at home and take short day trips or simply relax at home as you seek some much needed R&R?

Self-care is something we often neglect. We are so busy taking care of everyone and everything around us that we give very little thought to our own well-being. I must confess, over my 37 years of ministry, I have fallen miserably short in this department.

Jesus knew the importance of self-care. Continually, Jesus withdrew from people, daily life activities, and the demands of his ministry to be alone with the Father and pray. Jesus’s solitude and silence is a major theme in the Gospels. Study this in your Bible, and you’ll discover the secret of Jesus’s peace and power.

The priority of Jesus’s solitude and silence is everywhere in the Gospels. It’s how he began his ministry. It’s how he made important decisions. It’s how he dealt with troubling emotions like grief. It’s how he dealt with the constant demands of his ministry and cared for his soul. It’s how he taught his disciples. It’s how he prepared for important ministry events. It’s how he prepared for his death on the cross.

Jesus’s solitude is how he went deeper in his love-relationship with the God he knew as Abba. Jesus invites us to join him.

Here is a chronological survey of Bible verses from Mark that highlight Jesus’s solitude and silence. (I’ve added a few verses from the other Gospels. All verses are NIV unless indicated otherwise.)

  • At once the Spirit sent [Jesus] out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. (Mark 1:12)

  • Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee… “Come, follow me,” he said. (Mark 1:16)

  • Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35) [Everyone was looking for Jesus, but after his time in prayer, he told his disciples that it was time for them to move on to another village.]

  • [Despite Jesus’ plea that his miracles be kept secret] the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:15-16; see also Mark 1:45)

  • Once again, Jesus went out beside the lake. (Mark 2:13)

  • One Sabbath, Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples walked along. (Mark 2:23)

  • Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. (Mark 3:7)

  • Jesus went out to a mountain side to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him. (Luke 6:12-13. See also Mark 3:13)

  • Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables. (Matthew 13:1-3. See also Mark 4;1.)

  • When Jesus heard [that John the Baptist had been beheaded], he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. (Matthew 14:13)

  • Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, [Jesus] said to [his disciples],“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” o they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. (Mark 6:31-32)

  • After [Jesus] had dismissed [the crowds], he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was [still] there alone. (Matthew 14:23; see also Mark 6:46)

  • [Jesus] entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. (Mark 7:24)

  • Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” (Luke 9:18. See also Mark 8:27)

  • Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. (Matthew 15:29, ESV)

  • Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. (Mark 9:2)

  • After his brothers had gone up to the feast, then [Jesus] also went up, not publicly but in private. (John 7:10, ESV). [Jesus walked 90 miles from Galilee to Jerusalem, which gave him about five days in solitude.]

  • One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke11:1)

  • Again [the religious leaders in Jerusalem] sought to arrest [Jesus], but he escaped from their hands. He went away again [walking about five miles] across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. And many came to him. (John 10:39-41, ESV)

  • They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. (Mark 10:32.) [Apparently Jesus kept silent for most of the 22-mile hike. Luke says Jesus was “resolute” (9:51). He told them that he’d be tortured and killed in Jerusalem.]

  • When [Jesus and his disciples] had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Mark 14:26). This was Jesus’s “usual place” to pray when he was in Jerusalem. (Luke 22:39)

  • They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” (Mark 14:32)

How could we think that we can live well or love well without following Jesus’s example? We all know what Jesus said when asked, “What is the greatest commandment.” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

We often focus on loving God and loving our neighbor. We often bypass the part of loving ourselves. As we journey through these Lazy Hazy Days of Summer (The Dog Days of Summer), I would encourage you to practice self-care. In order for it to be well with our souls, we must ensure to care for ourselves, physically, emotionally and spiritually. With a renewed and refreshed spirit, we can step into September ready to run the race that God has put before us.

Pastor Russel