I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Unwrapping the Gift of Friendship

by Beth K. Vogt

Christmas is all about presents, isn't it?
Shove aside the tissue paper and wrapping paper, bows and ribbons that we use to wrap the presents tucked underneath our Christmas trees? You find yourself face-to-face with God's gracious gift to us, wrapped in the God-became-man-and-dwelt-among-us reality of his son, Jesus.
Emmanuel. God with us.

I've come to believe that God is a relationship-oriented God. When sin destroyed mankind's intimacy with Him, he established the way -- the Way -- back into fellowship with Him. Why? Because He values relatiohship.

One of God's most wonderful gifts to us -- one we can savor year-round -- is the gift of friendship. And I don't use the "gift" analogy lightly. Have you ever considered how becoming friends with someone is like unwrapping a gift?

There's the "oh, that's beautiful, I wonder what's hidden inside" stage. You meet someone and something -- their smile, their laugh, their welcoming way with words -- catches your eye and tugs at your heart. You think, "I like this person. I bet they'd be a fun friend."

There's the "oh, this is for me?" stage. You might swap phone numbers or email addresses or "like" each other on Facebook. Maybe make a date to meet for coffee. You begin to realize that maybe, just maybe, a friendship is beginning.

There's the "oh, wow, this is just what I wanted!" phase. You tear back the wrapping paper, pull out the tissue paper ... you know what I mean. You talk to each other. You listen to each other. You get to know each other. And slowly, slowly, you become friends.

Does every encounter with every person you meet become a deep friendship? No. Some people remain acquaintances. Some relationships -- dare I say it -- are returned because, well, they just don't fit right.

But when you find a true friend ... someone who believes in you when you don't ... someone who trusts you when you're losing faith in everything you've trusted ... that's a gift that borders on miraculous.

'Tis the season ... for presents. God's gift of love to us. Our wrapped and beribboned gifts to one another. But in the midst of all the fa-la-la-la and holly-jollying, don't overlook one of the best gifts we can ever receive: the gift of friendship.

And on that note: I thank God for this wonderful group of talented, loving women who encourage me with their creativity, who support me with their prayers, and who reflect God's image to me through their lives. Ponderers, you embody friendship to me in such a special, special way.

How have your friends been a gift from God to you this past year? 


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  2. I love friends, too, and wow, I'm so thankful to God for giving me friends at each stage in life so far. It's cool to see some friends I've known my entire life...other friendships that were just what I needed in a certain season, then drifted to a peaceful close because of distance or whatever...and other friendships that just zip in and become so totally lasting. This group of Ponderers is definitely an example of that last one. And my CP, Lindsay Harrel, has been an incredible gift from God in this past year and will continue to be in the future.

  3. Wow, Beth, you did such a great job w/ this. (I didn't see your name on this but checked our schedule--should have known it was you)! This post is an absolute keeper--such important straight to and from the heart wisdom. So very thankful for the lasting quality friendships God arranges because He's right smack dab in the middle of them.

  4. Beautifully written, Beth. I love the quote you opened with. :) I've found that some friendships last for a season, others for a lifetime. Each serves its purpose, but I'm especially thankful for those friendships that have endured the span of miles and life experiences.

    Friends have helped me in a number of ways this year. Speaking truth to me when I needed most to hear it, realigning my perspective so I see things accurately again, speaking truth to me, and just staying quiet and offering a hug when that's been the best gift. I can't imagine going through this life without friends who love me in spite of knowing my flaws.

  5. Great post, Beth. Such a perfect analogy of friendships. While I have practically no friendships from childhood--somehow we all lost touch--God has blessed me with some really great friends in this season of my life.

  6. Merry Christmas, one and all! Thanks for joining the conversation today and sharing your insights about the gift of friendship.

  7. If I didn't have my friendships, I'd be a totally different person. I've had friends for different seasons of life, but then I've had friends who've been around for a lifetime. My best friends are those who know me well and love me anyway. We all need those kind of unconditional love friendships.

  8. I'm so very thankful for the friends I've been blessed with, particularly those in the last couple of years. They've allowed me to believe I can achieve this crazy dream to be an author and have taken the time to help me. It is absolutely amazing. Thank you God!

  9. Great post Beth!

    We just celebrated my granddaughter's 3rd birthday, and she's a great example of how to appreciate and show joy for a gift. AND she always said thank you.

    I've made so many writing friends this year that I treasure!

    I appreciate this blog and all of you!

    Merry Christmas!