How do I have a relationship with someone I can’t see?

One of the joys of Christmastime is the chance to reconnect with friends and family. It feels great to reconnect with a friend in person—to give him a hug, to look him in the eyes, to talk to him for hours.

As we reconnect with people at Christmastime we might also think about reconnecting with the Lord—the Person that Christmas is all about. But how do we connect with Someone whom we can’t see, can’t hug, can’t even talk with on the phone? Here are four approaches to try:

1Picture Him as a human being

How-do-I-have-a-relationship-with-someone-I-can't-seeThe New Church teaches that, though we can’t see God with our physical eyes, He’s not just a shapeless Force: He’s a human being and that’s how we can picture Him. True Christianity 787, by Emanuel Swedenborg, describes picturing Him as “a man in the air or on the sea spreading forth his hands and inviting to his arms.”

One of the reasons He was born into the world was so that people could know that their God is human and visible.

We can’t have a relationship with a Force, but we can have a relationship with a human being. The Lord doesn’t just have a human form; He is also the source of all good human qualities—kindness, understanding, compassion—in short, He is “Divine love in human form” (Secrets of Heaven 4735, by Swedenborg).

2Spend time with the Lord

In any relationship it’s important to have a good understanding of who the other person is, but that’s not what’s going to really develop the relationship. If you really want to get to know someone, you need to spend time with him or her and do the sorts of things he or she love to do. The same goes for our relationship with the Lord.

Two ways of spending time with the Lord are reading His Word and praying. Especially during a busy time of year it’s easy to say, “Yeah, I know I should pray and read the Word,” and never get around to it. And yet, if you commit to trying to remember to pray every morning and evening or to reading something from the Word every day for the month of December, you will notice a difference in your relationship with the Lord.

The New Church teaches that the Lord “is continually speaking with a person” through the good things that she feels inspired to do and the true thoughts that she has (Secrets of Heaven 904, by Swedenborg). If we are in the habit of praying and reading the Word, we’ll be more likely to hear what our God is saying to us.

3Keep His commandments

The best way of connecting with the Lord, though, is even better than praying and reading the Word. It is through doing what the Lord loves to do by keeping His commandments. The Lord explained this to His disciples while He was still visible in this world. He said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments. …A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:15, 19-21).

It’s as simple as that: if we want to have a relationship with the Lord and see Him in our lives, then we need to obey His commandments. We’re not expected to be perfect, but the more we’re able to reject selfish desires, the more we will be able to see the Lord working in our lives with His unselfish Divine love (the Father) and the stronger our relationship with Him will become.

4Look for Him in other people

Just as we can come to see the Lord working in our lives we also can see Him working in other people’s lives. When we see someone being generous or forgiving or patient we are seeing the Lord.

So, as we reconnect with friends and family at Christmastime, we can reconnect with the Lord at the same time through other people and through trying to live His love for other people.

by Rev. Malcolm Smith

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Daily Inspiration

"If someone possesses humility they are able to accept good from the Lord, since in that case they have been parted from self-love and the evils which stand in the way of accepting it."

Arcana Coelestia 5957