“A thin place is where two worlds meet, where heaven kisses earth and eternal time brushes against ordinary time.”
Liz Budd Ellmann
We meet a time of transitions. Days to nights, earthly to sacred and back to earthly. Grounded in all that makes us human, we find ourselves in a series of moments when the air is thin and our vision sharpened.
Shepherds, Innkeepers, Wise ones from afar and terrified Kings, we join them all to witness a birth. A birth that stirs spirits with hope and promise. A birth that stirs egos with threat and tragedy.
The space between heaven and earth has grown thin. The divine was so close that eyes were opened and bodies charged with wonder and truth. A baby was born whose purpose was realized as he drew his first breath. The promise of a coming Messiah had been on the lips of prophets for many years.
Today we move quickly as did Joseph from his dream. An angel came to warn that his newborn was at risk of being killed by an enraged king. He led a donkey carrying Mary and the baby out into the night toward Egypt.
A place to live in safety until Herod was no longer a threat.
Yet as they travelled away, I wonder if they could hear the cries of mothers watching their young sons killed at King Herod’s command. Today the Church remembers The Holy Innocents. First born sons put to death because Herod saw Jesus as a threat to his reign.
We witnessed these deaths just as we witnessed Jesus birth. The veil had thinned. God’s presence was real and the world knew it to be true.
‘A thin place is where two worlds meet…’ We are living through a time where the air is thin and vision sharpened. Rejoicing and revolting, we experience these stories as the foundation of our journey.
These nights – they are filled with thin places.
WHERE THE LIGHT BEGINS
A Blessing for Christmas Day
Perhaps it does not begin.
Perhaps it is always.
Perhaps it takes
to open our eyes,
to learn to see
what has forever
shimmered in front of us—
the luminous line
of the map
in the dark
the vigil flame
in the house
of the heart
we cannot keep
from crying out
Perhaps this day
will be the mountain
the dawn breaks.
will turn our face
toward what has been
will finally open
in ancient recognition,
illuminated at last.
Perhaps this day
the light begins
Quote: Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons
Image: “Where the Light Begins” © Jan Richardson
Shepherds: a serigraph by John August Swanson
“It must be a great disappointment to God if we are not dazzled at least ten times a day.”
Now is the moment. It is the only moment we truly have. Look around and see…
We are near the time and place which has called for so much preparation. We have been primed to be alert, to pay attention.
Paying attention can bring moments important and inspiring.
When alert I have seen:
— Fireflies covering a field. Like a blanket of light and movement, they floated in silent grace only saying what was necessary in the glow of dusk.
— Fox pups with coats orange-brown playing on a mound of green earth. With frisky jumps and dashing runs they tried to hide from one another only to be discovered by sweeping tails dipped in white.
— A tiny Carolina wren perched face-first high in the corner of my porch. Dusk had settled into night and this little one had found a safe, dry place to sleep.
— And just yesterday a streak of indigo caught my eye. Before I knew it I faced a tree host to a family of blue birds.
To my surprise… after all this time I still feel a rush of energy when I am present to these sightings. They are moments discovered outside of human control.
We are near the time and place when a moment outside of human control comes to blanket the world with peace and care.
Like the shepherds looking up to angels bright as stars, be alert as God’s presence moves among us.
Quote: Mary Oliver, Good Morning No 5, from Blue Horses (2014)
Location unknown – image source: stekla63.ru
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief…
For a time I rest in the grace of the world,
and am free.
Quote: Wendell Berry
Photo: Ilona Ilyes