I am excited about Thanksgiving. How could we not be? It is a day to set aside to be with family and friends. On Thanksgiving we are encouraged to eat more not less. We can take a nap. It is a day to give thanks to God for all of His blessings. Thanksgiving should be every day.
I have many reasons to be thankful. I have a tremendous family. I have good health. I have a wonderful staff and a loving church family.
This year we are going to the family farm for Thanksgiving. Like everyone else, I drive up the driveway and a flood of memories washes over me. I remember putting plastic on a greenhouse on Thanksgiving when my hands froze and we almost blew away. I remember cutting wood and lighting a fire in the fireplace. I remember endless games of cribbage with my brother, father and grandfather. I remember giving something extra to the animals so that they could enjoy the feast as well.
One of the things I am most thankful for at the farm is the woods. Our farm is near the ocean and abuts the marsh. It has a few ponds, a number of fields and a wooded area that surrounds most of it.
Whenever I am at the farm I always take a walk in the woods so that I can pray. I have walked through the woods so many times and I have wrestled with so many issues on those walks.
Also, God has graciously given me triggers out there to remind me of His goodness. I walk by the stream and am reminded of the Holy Spirit. I see an owl and I ask for wisdom. I spot the deer tracks and long for God like the deer pants for the stream. I hear the waves crashing and I meditate on God’s power.
God has blessed those woods for me. He has made it a holy space. I believe God sets aside holy spaces in our lives. For me, there is the prayer cave in Lindisfarne, the loveseat in Woburn, and the bench behind the pulpit.
A holy space is a space where the presence of God seems more vibrant. It is a space that is usually cultivated by lots of prayer. It is a place where the space between heaven and earth seems very thin. In these spaces God grants us a deep awareness and a listening ear.
This Holy Space in the woods invites me, almost calls me, to spend time with God. And because it has been so prayed into, I find it easier to connect with God. There is no easing into prayer out in the woods. There is not a need to. I can bypass introductions and small talk and go right into the deep stuff.
I am so thankful God creates Holy Spaces. More importantly, I am grateful that God communicates to us. He loves to talk to His disciples and He loves to hear from His disciples. He wants the conversation. He desires to speak into our lives. He does not leave us out there to figure out things ourselves. He guides us every step of the way.
I will get to the farm on Thanksgiving and the memories will flood over me of all the wonderful prayer times out in the woods. I can’t wait to get back out there and walk with God. I need it. I crave it. I am thankful for it.