Finding God in Thin Places

I made the mistake of reading the news early on Saturday morning. We were all sitting around the fire, reading books and snuggling. The girls started playing and I checked my Blessingphone. Over and over again this year, I’ve read the news with a heaviness and disappointment. Many of the laws passed (or trying to be passed) won’t really affect our family much. In some cases, we may even benefit from them. And yet, my neighbors, Bea’s classmates, strangers on the street all will be impacted.

After my initial despair, I read from the beginning of the Gospel of Luke. This year, I’ve been reading the story of the Birth of Jesus each morning. Perhaps I’ll read an additional devotion along with it, but I want to immerse myself in this story. I need to be reminded.

We’re just five days into Advent, but I’ve read these two chapters five times now. I am struck by the obvious fact that Jesus came to earth as a tiny baby. Of course, we see the manger scenes, we know this about the first Christmas. Yet, I was reminded that Jesus coming as a baby was a big disappointment to many people. They were hoping for a Savior. A King. A Powerful Ruler to lift them from oppression.

They got a helpless baby.

Right now, I long for a Powerful Jesus to return, to redeem this world, to bring about a new earth. I don’t imagine this happening quietly or peacefully but with a grand show. I read the news and I think, Come, Jesus! Now is the time to return!

I empathize with those who could not see the Savior of the World as a baby. In many ways, Herod had more faith than I do, believing that this small human could disrupt his power.

I like the idea of Jesus entering this world as a baby, entering Jerusalem on a donkey. Of peace and hope being powerfully intertwined. But when I get antsy for change and when the powers of this world seem overwhelming, I wonder why Jesus chose the upside down path. Why couldn’t he come, sword flashing, power evident, to get rid of all the “bad guys” and restore justice?

I’m reading In the Sanctuary of Women by Jan L. Richardson. In her study of St. Brigid, she explores the soul of time. She talks about time being intertwined, like a Celtic knot, past, present, and future all linked and mixed. She explores thin places – those spaces where heaven and earth touch and the veil is thin. She reminds me that God cannot be more there than here and that if God occupies everywhere then the mystery is finding God in all of these spaces.

So, this Advent I am finding God, even in the spaces that seem hopeless. I am finding God both in the sweet family moments of lighting candles and reading ancient stories and I am finding God in politics and ways I can show love and hospitality to my neighbors. I am opening my eyes to these thin spaces, where heaven and earth touch, where suddenly Jesus coming as a helpless baby really does make sense.

BLESSING

May time spiral well for you,
leading you around
and around yet again
to the landscapes where remembering
offers redemption and grace.

Jan L. Richardson, In the Sanctuary of Women, pg. 85

Where are you finding thin spaces in your days? How do you experience hope as you anticipate the smallness of a baby-savior?

Dwell in Advent

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Good thing she’s cute!

The past couple days have been off with our sleep. We’ve totally been spoiled with sweet Elle – she’s been a good, long sleeper from the beginning, so while I was trying to figure out what was wrong the past two days, Frank suggested that perhaps she’s simply acting her age. An adjusted bedtime got us back on track.

It made me think about how with so many things, we get used to the status quo. And then something is off and we remember that an adjustment needs to be made.

This can work negatively, too. When a major tragedy occurs – like the attacks on Paris or the World Trade Center or the kidnapping of the girls in Nigeria last year – we reset and remember that yes, the world is this bad for many people. All the time.

Should we be remembering the terrorism and crises around the world daily? We should! But, it’s easy to get into a routine and not remember those “smaller” tragedies until something big happens. In some ways, we need those big things to jolt us back to the realization that our world is in constant crisis and that we need to recognize the marginalized daily.

As Advent approaches and we dwell in this time of anticipation and reflection, I hope to remember those whose voices aren’t heard. I’ll be praying in anticipation for peace in the big moments as well as in the small, unheard ones.

Will you join me in praying this Advent season for our world? I’m collecting prayers and would love to add your voice. Check out the details here: Button

Linked with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing.