Thursday, December 5, 2013


This is my first Advent post for the year. For those of you who follow other faiths or no faith at all, I hope these posts will give you an idea of what Advent is and what Christmas means to Christians.

What do you hope for? Tuesday, at the junior high choir concert, I heard, once again, the song "My Grown-Up Christmas List." Take a listen to Amy Grant singing it. I'll be waiting until you come back.

Grown-Up Christmas List

What I love about the song, what moves me most, is that line about everyone having a friend. Most of us can't stop wars, or speed up time to heal hearts, or make right always win. But every last one of us can make that grown-up wish of friendship come true for someone.

Be a friend.

Friendship takes so many forms it's hard to define. It's a fluid concept. When we try to create rules about friendship, or pin it down, or expect it to be only a certain way, or set limits on it, we damage the friendship or kill it completely.

Each friendship is unique, and each friendship goes through good times and bad. Sometimes one friend needs more, then the other. Over time, friendship generally balances out, but some very kind people were my friends when I had very little to give back to them. They never asked me to pay what I owed them on the scale of friendship, and so I've tried to pay their gift forward. It's become quite a joy to be friends to others who need more friendship than I do.

Any two people can be friends. I've had friends who were atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, Jewish, Pentecostal, Southern Baptist, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Missouri-Synod Lutheran, and most other Protestant persuasions. I've never had a Hindu or Muslim friend and consider that something I need to correct. I've had friends who were much older, much younger, similar to me, completely different from me. I've even had a few friends who didn't like to read.

Can you even imagine?

Have you noticed that we must put energy into friendship to keep it flowing. Over our many moves in the military, incredibly close friends drifted away because I was no longer in their daily sphere. It was too much work to stay connected to me. We lost touch. The final death knell of the friendship...being cut from their Christmas card list.

That hurt a bit, at first, to realize I still wanted to work at the friendship and they did not, but I eventually learned that it's normal and natural and even good to let go and move on. I treasure the memory of friends like Deena and Becky, though I doubt I will ever see them or hear from them again. They made a wonderful difference in my life, and now, I am certain, they are making wonderful differences in other people's lives.

Occasionally, those lost friends do reconnect. What a joy that is!

Christians sing, "What a friend we have in Jesus." There's a different sort of friendship for you. Talk about one-sided. He does all the work. Freely. He accepts us as we are, flaws and all, and loves us without ceasing and beyond our understanding. All we have to do is show up in prayer and faith and trust, let Him wash our feet and hearts, wrap us in a hug, lift us up from our sickness and sorrow. He's not a transient friend who fades from our lives and forgets about us or doesn't have time for us. He's always there. Eternally.

How it breaks His heart when we lose touch with Him, when we cut Him from our Christmas list!

During Advent, we anticipate and prepare for His birth, the birth of our Savior and Friend. It's our time to reconnect with our Friend, to remember what He does for us and with us.

God with us. Emmanuel.

It's my grown-up Christmas wish...that we pay His friendship forward, and share that selfless, compassionate, kind, loving friendship with the world. Let's not put rules on that friendship; let's not expect others to be just like us or become just like us.

Let's be friends for a world in need.

What's your grown-up Christmas wish?

1 comment:

  1. This post really hit home for me. I work very hard at maintaining friendships. It can be so difficult at times. How do friendships form? Usually through proximity. You are part of a larger group and you tend to make friends within that group. But once that group is not part of your every day life; you have to really work at keeping those friendships going.

    So, what makes some last and not others? A shared interest, a feeling of being understood, family ties, geography, common values and beliefs all contribute to making the effort. Usually there is also a common denominator in the friendship as well; a sincere wish to keep the friendship viable.

    I think the biggest single thing that keeps friendships alive is working at it. Phone calls, emails, cards and regular appointments to be together keep those friendships solid.

    I have a group of five girlfriends; we all used to cycle together. Life has changed all of our circumstances; but we love each other and make an effort to get together. There are five us and we plan to get together for each other's birthdays. It may only be five times a year; but we all work HARD at making that work. (Luckily they are spread throughout the year) There are also many other times that we manage, funerals, special occasions, etc. But none of that would work if we didn't all try and work at it.

    My husband and I have former marina friends that have sold their boats and wells. There are five couples that we get together with about four times a year. We love their company and don't want to see those friendships founder. That group is a little tougher to maintain because they don't all work at it. If I didn't send emails and set things up it would slowly dissolve over time.

    My friends at work remain so because we see each other every day. That works in our favor. I'm not sure how many would remain friends if I changed jobs. But for now I value and treasure those friendships.

    I think my grown up Christmas wish would be to keep as many friends as I can and make new ones too. I love people, learning their stories and truly enjoy getting to know them and making a new friend. I hope when my time on earth is done that people remember me as a good friend. : )


Thanks so much for taking time to comment!