Years ago, there was a widely circulated idea that everyone is six or fewer social connections away from each other. It was called “Six Degrees of Separation,” or the “Six Handshake Rule.” It is the idea that “friend to friend” connections (with anyone) can be made in six steps or less.
The concept originated in a short story written by Frigyes Karinthy and was popularized in a 1990s play entitled “Six Degrees of Separation.” It was promoting the notion that human beings are amazingly connected.
I remember playing with the idea with some friends. It was fun to think through the scope of our friendships and wonder if we could somehow connect with the President, or an actor or a very successful businessman. It highlighted the truth that we all desperately need to be connected.
Human beings need connection. Infants are now placed “skin to skin” with mom and dad to initiate that bond between child and parent. Smart educators stand at the door of their classrooms each morning anxious to connect with each student. The child gets to choose to participate in a high five, a handshake or a hug, but everyone connects, every morning.
Parents are realizing that various “screens” (iPad, phones, laptops, gaming consoles) are robbing their home of meaningful connectivity. So, they are establishing device-free zones, setting time limits and modeling good digital behavior by storing all the devices in one public place in the home.
Men, women, boys, girls, the elderly and the very young all crave connectivity. When we feel connected to others, there is a general sense of well-being. That sense gives us confidence to take risks, energy to deal with difficulties and openness to change. It empowers us.
I am sure that is why the Lord emphasized His relationship with mankind. Over and over again in the scriptures, He declares, “You are my people!” He says so in Hosea 2:23, in Ezekiel 37:23 and in Revelation 21:3, He is so clear, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people and God Himself with be with them and be their God.”
So, if the holidays happen to be difficult for you. Acknowledge the struggle and reach out. Call some friends over for an impromptu game night. Take a small gift over to a neighbor and engage in some healthy conversation. Call a buddy and ask to pray with them over the phone. Volunteer to be involved in some kind of service to the community. Show up for events at church. Write some letters of appreciation to some co-workers or family members. Connect in any way you can.
And take some extra time to connect with the Lord through His word. Read and listen as He expresses His love for you. He is not even one degree separated from you!