Friday, December 18, 2015

Relationships, the Illusion of Connection and Christmas

God has made us for relationship. Humans thrive in good and healthy relationships.  The problem is, because we are all broken, these relationships are often messy - not so good, not so healthy. Therefore, relationships are work.  But its worth the work to cultivate authentic connections with others. This has always been true.

However, with modern technology comes modern challenges.  I spend more time "connecting" through electronic devices than via personal, face to face contact with others.  I send text messages, instead of speaking voice to voice over the telephone. I write emails with a computer, rather than personal letters that have my unique scribbles that those close to me recognize.  I have hundreds of friends that I observe and "connect" with over social media instead of over a cup of coffee.  All of this fosters isolation rather than connection. Have you experienced this illusion of connection that modern technology has created and we have fully embraced?

All of this electronic communication has given us the illusion of connection, when actually it has dulled and stifled genuine relationships.  Even as I am reading the posts of others, commenting on photos and "likeing" articles, I often come away with a growing emptiness.  Since all of these devices save us so much time we should have plenty of opportunity for a cup of coffee, a phone call or dinner around that table with our family.  It takes intentional effort to unplug the electronics and move toward others. I suspect those others in your life are longing for connection with you too.

What's more, when I spend time utilizing electronic devices I am drawn away from the deepest and most meaningful connection of all - the one with God.  (Its even possible for me to read the Word of God on an electronic device. I suppose that's better than not reading it at all.) Somehow all of this media, technology and progress has created an environment buzzing with activity. So much noise!  I think it would be wise for the people of God, the followers of Christ, to set aside the electronics and simply "be still!"  At least I think that would be wise for me. It is in the strengthening of this ultimate relationship with my Heavenly Father that I am enabled to better connect with those around me.

God could have communicated and connected with mankind through a multitude of ways. But He came to us in person.  Jesus came so that we can have a relationship with Him.  God is not a distant, unconcerned force.  He is a personal, loving God - engaged with His creation.  This is the story of Christmas. So in a very real sense, Christmas is about connection.

[I realize the irony of this post given it is communication via a blog and that I'm using an electronic devise and so are you. Shut your device down and go have a real conversation.]


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