“He that loved Him that begat, loves him also that is begotten of Him.” (1 John 5:1). It is possible to love a saint, yet not to love him as a saint; we may love him for something else, for his ingenuity, or because he is affable and bountiful. A beast loves a man, but not as he is a man, but because he feeds him, and gives him provender. But to love a saint as he is a saint, this is a sign of love to God.
The saints are the walking pictures of God. If God be our Father we shall love to see His picture of holiness in believers, shall pity them for their infirmities, but love them for their graces. . . . It may justly be suspected that God is not Father of those who love not His children. Though they retain the communion of saints in their creed, they banish the communion of saints out of their company.
Wicked men seem to bear great reverence to the saints departed; they canonize dead saints, but persecute living. In vain do men stand up at the creed, and tell the world they believe in God, when they abominate one of the articles of the creed, namely, the communion of saints. Surely, there is no greater sign of a man ripe for hell, than this, not only to lack grace, but to hate it. -Thomas Watson
As this year passes it would do us well to consider our relationship with our brethren as Watson here suggests. May we not take lightly the communion of saints and indeed, may we recognize that Love is the overflow of joy in God which gladly meets the needs of others (from Desiring God by John Piper, page 96).