All posts by Jenn Beiswenger

About Jenn Beiswenger

Jenn is a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, homemaker, artist, chronic volunteer, pastor's wife and doula-in-the-making. She loves reading, word & number puzzles, cooking nutritious food, planning fun surprises, looking after her family, helping people connect, having good heart-to-heart conversations about the important things in life. She is learning more and more about the Lord's workings and is inspired by His sheer amazingness. She was born & raised in Canada, educated & started a family in the United States, and now lives & loves in Australia.

Individual Experience

Ours is an individual experience. What we see, feel, hear, taste, smell – it’s all subjective. We think we each see daylight or feel snow the same way, but do we really? Experiences are rated on scales – Scoville scale of heat (spiciness), Mohs hardness scale, lumens/lux/candela/footcandles indicating brightness – but can we really know if our bases are the same, if we’ve all got the same starting point?

We know from the Heavenly Doctrines for the New Church that light is about enlightenment and warmth is about love –

The sun in the spiritual world is pure love from Jehovah God, who is within that sun. The spiritual sun radiates heat and light. The essence of the heat it radiates is love, and the essence of the light is wisdom. That heat and that light have an effect on people’s wills and intellects. The heat affects the will; the light affects the intellect.
(True Christianity 75)

….Does someone who is more enlightened and living in more love experience a warmer, brighter summer day than another? Does someone who is struggling with her faith and living more selfishly experience a longer, colder winter? More seasonal affective disorder? It doesn’t seem so – it can be a brilliantly sunny day outside even when I’m feeling dark & crabby inwardly. I doubt that everyone in Canada experienced a severe dip in their spirituality alongside this winter’s cold snap …. or did they??

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Christmas is Still Christmas

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Luke 2:8-11

Do you feel inspired by this quote, as I do? Then, when you look around you, do you feel discouraged by the loss of spiritual focus in the world, by the vast consumerism and Ho-Ho-Ho Santa-Clausness that appear to be driving the ship these days? Are you disheartened to see so many secular aspects of Christmas, what seems like everybody and their uncle celebrating Xmas but not Christmas? Sometimes, to devoted Christians, it can be outright depressing.

I’m here to buoy you up, to reassure you that all is not lost.

Santa Claus may not seem to have anything whatsoever to do with our Lord Jesus Christ, and he doesn’t, really……. however let’s consider Mr Claus’ nature: the spirit behind jolly ol’ Saint Nick is not one of meanness or greed, but about love and generosity! If people are enamoured with and inspired by Santa, – that isn’t my first choice, to be certain, but it sure could be a lot worse. I have to remind myself that the Lord doesn’t only come to people through the Christian Bible and the Writings for the New Church. Those are the means with which I’m most familiar, and they may be the truest form, but He has clearly told us that He comes to different people in different ways, in ways that suit them best.

In later times when the knowledge of correspondences had been wiped out, [people] began to worship the actual carvings as being themselves holy, being unaware that their ancestors had seen no holiness in them, merely regarding them as representing holy things in accordance with their correspondences. This was the origin of the idolatries which filled so many of the world’s kingdoms. In order to root out those idolatries, it happened by the Lord’s Divine Providence that a new religion should be founded adapted to suit the character of oriental peoples…. 

True Christian Religion 833

If some people simply cannot wrap their brains around the Jesus thing, it’s better that they embrace and emulate Santa than someone much worse, isn’t it? This is about the ‘church universal’, as I understand it, and I’ll bet Santa’s a part of it.

There are people who think that the Lord’s church exists only in the Christian world because only there is the Lord known and only there is the Word found. Still, there are a good many people who believe that the church of God is wider, spread out and scattered through all regions of the world, even among people who do not know about the Lord and do not have the Word. They say that it is not these people’s fault and that they cannot help being ignorant. It would fly in the face of God’s love and mercy if anyone were born for hell when we are all equally human.

Divine providence 325

The Lord takes what we know and turns it to good. Take Christmas lights as another example: we see a lot of those, strung along rooftops and around trees at this time of year, not to mention the elaborate light creations that fill some people’s yards. On the one hand, we may be put off by their gaudiness and heathenly nature; on the other, though, if we consider correspondences, we might remember that light corresponds to truth, and stars to knowledges of good and truth, particularly knowledge about the Lord (AE72). With that in mind, look again out your front window: we’re utterly surrounded by representations of truth!

I wish that everyone could appreciate the Lord Jesus as our Saviour, and the Writings tell us that folks are introduced to this truth upon entering the other world, but in the meantime, it seems that we need to make our peace with the world as it actually is. The mall may be grossly packed with exorbitantly-spending shoppers, but they (by and large) aren’t buying for themselves, they’re generously buying for others. Our Griswold-esque neighbours may have blown a fuse with all their powered decorations, but still, they’re celebrating Christmas. It seems that just about everybody does ‘celebrate Christmas’ in some form or other, certainly more than just Christians, and maybe that’s actually a good thing, after all.

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

luke 2:10-14

Walking in the Light

I take my dog for a walk just about every morning. It’s good exercise for both of us, it gets us outside and into the fresh air. The sun has officially risen by the time we set out, during the wintertime, although it’s just peeking over the tops of buildings on the last stretch of our walk – heading toward the east, it’s shining right into my eyes, when there aren’t clouds obstructing it.

As I walk that last stretch along the sidewalk in our residential neighbourhood, I love to feel the sun shining down on me. Since it’s quite bright, sometimes I close my eyes, but I keep walking – it started out as a bit of a game, counting how many steps I could take along the [very straight] sidewalk before running into the grass on either side. First it was about 10 steps, then 20, then even 30 and a bit more – chuckling to myself all the while, thinking about how I must look like a bit of a ninny to any who witness me walking like a drunkard down the street at 7:30 in the morning!

More recently, though, I’ve chosen to let go of some of the stress that I noticed I’d begun to feel as I did that – worrying about walking off the path, tripping, counting steps, besting my previous accomplishment. I choose to just go, just be, to trust that I’ll be fine (and anyway, it doesn’t matter how many steps I take). To enjoy the sunshine on my face and closed eyelids. As I do that, I can’t help but think of the Lord, bathing me in His wisdom and love.

“….Wow,” I thought – “That’s a great comparison to how we ought to live our lives!” How many times have we been advised to ‘Let go & let God’, to trust in His Providence? Feeling the warmth of the Lord’s love, seeing – understanding – the Lord’s truths, really trusting that, with Him – turning to Him for guidance and living a life of love as He longs for us to do – all will be well. Amen to that!

In the spiritual world there is a sun. The Lord is in the center of that sun. From it He flows, through heat and light, into the whole spiritual world and into all the people there. All the light and heat there come from that sun. The Lord also flows from that sun, with the same heat and light, into the souls and minds of people [in the material world]. That heat, in its essence, is the Lord’s divine love; that light, in its essence, is the Lord’s divine wisdom. (True Christianity 641.2)

They who trust in the Lord continually receive good from Him; for whatsoever happens to them, whether it appears to be prosperous or not prosperous, is still good, because it conduces as a means to their eternal happiness.  (Arcana Coelestia 8480.3)

[As a bit of a post-script, I’ll add that, when the clouds do cover the sky and block any view of the sun, it’s fun to remember that the sun is still there – it hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s as close as ever! – just like how the Lord is a-l-w-a-y-s there for us; even when we can’t see or feel Him – well, we aren’t truly without light nor heat on such a day, similar to how we are never truly without His love & truth – even when it seems to us that He isn’t there, He really is, there are just some things in the way to our perceiving Him fully. These obstructions come from us, from our faulty natural inclinations,…. but that’s a story for another day!]

He Loves Them, Too

Hear my prayer, O LORD; listen to my plea!
Answer me because You are faithful and righteous.
My enemy has chased me. He has knocked me to the ground
and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave.
Let me hear of Your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting You.
Show me where to walk, for I give myself to You.
Rescue me from my enemies, LORD; I run to You to hide me.
In Your unfailing love, silence all my enemies and destroy all my foes,
for I am Your servant.
(Psalm 143:1, 3, 8, 9, 12)

This psalm of David’s carries a familiar theme: crying out in anguish, praising the LORD, calling on Him for help.

After reading this psalm, I pondered it for a while, then formed my own prayer based on David’s. “Please guide me in Your ways, LORD, and destroy my enemies.” Even as I said these words, though, this last bit caught in my throat: “destroy my enemies” David had said it, right there in the last verse of the psalm: “Destroy all my foes.” He was begging the LORD, as I then was, to take the hells away. ….But did I really want Him to destroy them?

I pondered this a bit longer: these hells that I wanted the LORD to destroy, who were they? They were people, too. I pictured some dirty, scary, evil-looking beings like what I might’ve seen in an illustration somewhere. These were people, though, who’d made poor choices and ended up in hell. Nevertheless, they were part of His creation. And if they were part of His creation, and He doesn’t create anything inherently bad, He only creates what He loves – that is to say, He loves everything that He creates,….. then, by definition, He loves these evil spirits, too. I’d known that, theoretically – “The LORD loves everyone.” It had been a bit of a platitude up to that point, though, because in that moment it dawned on me how He loves everyone. Equally. He doesn’t just like some, love some others, and kinda not really like others much at all, and He doesn’t only like us when we’re behaving well: He loves us ALL, each and every one of us, 100%, all the time, passionately, unconditionally. WOAH.

Continue reading He Loves Them, Too