Experience Christmas is a 19-day devotional series based on the Scriptural narrative and aimed at creating space during a beautiful, but hectic time of year to wonder at the miracle of Christmas. You’re joining us on day one, with music from Idina Menzel and a devotional exploring the concept of spiritually thin places.
I absolutely believe in the idea of thin places.
There have been moments in my life where God has made Himself so real, it’s as if I can feel Him standing in the room beside me. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I am always overwhelmed by the thought that I have walked into a space, where for reasons outside my understanding, God’s voice sounds that much clearer, and His presence infinitely more discernable than the ordinary moments that make up my life.
Heaven and earth, the Celtic saying goes, are only three feet apart, but in thin places that distance is even shorter.
– Eric Weiner, Where Heaven and Earth Come Closer, NYTimes.com
I love that the Celtic’s describe thin places as being spaces where heaven and earth are nearer; places where I think it becomes possible for both worlds to intersect. In my own experience, those places are almost always life-changing.
I think Christmastime is naturally one of the thinnest places of all.
If in a thin place, the divine and ordinary can meet, Christmas might be the very thinnest thin place of all. What we celebrate every year at the manger, is the miracle of God becoming flesh, making His way into our world in a way we could know Him and understand Him. It’s heaven meeting earth in the most beautifully practical way. There is no greater miracle, no greater gift we could ever be offered.
Christmas is a thin place, a season during which even the hardest-hearted of people think about what matters, when even the most locked-up individuals loosen their grasps for just a moment, in the face of the deep beauty and hope of Christmas. The shimmer of God’s presence, not always plainly visible in our world, is more visible at Christmas.
– Shauna Niequist, pg. 93 Bittersweet
I believe it’s possible for anyone to experience a thin place.
I don’t think God makes a habit of hiding Himself from us. I think He is active in our world and available to meet with anyone who is seeking Him, but we can get so blinded by our successes and our disappointments, the things we think we know about Him, and just the regular chaos of everyday life that it’s possible to walk right past the invitation He extends to us.
Revelation 3:20 (NIV)
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
The challenge this month as we look toward the celebration of Christ’s birth, will be to make ourselves available to experience the presence of God in the middle of a wonderfully busy season. To allow space in our lives and in our hearts to recognize the thin places God has for each of us individually, and maybe, just to ask Him to show us more clearly that He’s there.
- Have you ever experienced a thin place?
- What would it look like for you to really experience Christmas this year?
- Where can you make space in your schedule to make that experience reality?
Pray that God would give you an open heart and open mind. Commit to making space each day to fully experience Christmas this year.
Father I pray that you would show us where the thin places are in our lives. Give us open hearts and open minds to hear you and receive from you. Help us to make space this month to meet you this Christmas.
For a complete list of devotional posts visit the Experience Christmas series page. Sign up to receive posts directly via email by completing the online subscription form and join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #ExperienceChristmasDevotional.