Take time to rest in the ‘thin places’ of life, faith
Published 8:08 pm Friday, December 22, 2023
I’ve been reading Shauna Niequist’s devotional book, “Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are as You Are” this year. I have so enjoyed the author’s insight on “everyday living” especially since many of her daily topics are reflective of my own life.
This week, Niequist talked about “thin places.”
I had heard of this term but wanted to dive deeper into its meaning. In doing so, I discovered the saying “thin places” is derived from Celtic tradition and basically refers to a realm which exists between heaven and earth.
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On catholicprofiles.org., Julianne Stanz elaborated on the expression by describing it as a “thin space existing not only outside us, but also within us.” She went on to say, “In each person’s life are thin places where that person experiences God’s presence in a way that stirs the soul.”
I would imagine that on the night Christ was born, the shepherds in the fields experienced a “thin place” not only outwardly but as Stanz said, also inwardly.
There they were just hanging out in the fields doing what shepherds do and all of the sudden an angel appeared.
Heaven and earth don’t get much closer than that. Even more so, as the shepherds are standing there wondering what the heck is going on, and then as described in the Bible beginning in Luke 2:8 – “the Angel of the Lord speaks telling them not to be afraid and then announces a Savior has been born” – it’s a thin place.
And certainly, this thin place experience continues when the sky becomes filled with a “heavenly host of angels singing.”
But I think that night the shepherds experienced yet another “thin place” after they followed the Angel of the Lord’s instructions and left to find the baby who was wrapped in swaddling clothes.
No doubt their hearts stirred with an indescribable feeling – a thin place when they saw Jesus.
After the birth of each of my children, I experienced a love that felt no bounds – a “thin place” between heaven and earth. There have been other times in my life when my soul was stirred – one each year at our church’s Christmas Eve candlelight service.
After the lights are dimmed and each person in the congregation is standing there with their face illuminated from the flickering candles and singing “Silent Night,” I experience a thin place – a place where heaven is on earth.
“So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” Luke 2:16-20 (NIV)