Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Card Friendships

Today I worked on writing notes in Christmas cards for our Sunday School class. Each one gets a special note, so it takes a while. I took a break and went to the mailbox to look for season's greetings from my loved ones. If I'm being honest, I divide these greetings into 4 categories. One-cards with preprinted names. Two-cards with signed names. Three-a form letter looking back over the year. Four-a personal note from the sender. All of the cards and notes mean something to me because the person took the time to think of me. I don't have time every year to write the personal notes. Change that. I don't MAKE the time. It's all about choices.

Acquaintances and friendships develop in a similar pattern. Intimacy builds with transparency. Some friendships remain distant because conversations are shallow and walls of protection are up. As the walls come down and the conversations become more real, the potential for friendship grows. With some people, I know them in name only, just like the preprinted Christmas cards. Others I learn nuggets about them, but that's about it, as in the signed Christmas cards with little else written on the card. Most friendships get to the third level, where I know the facts about their calendar year, but I know less about matters of the heart. When a friendship enters the fourth level, hearts are shared and a bond is formed. Not many reach it to this level.

The Lord had similar friendship circles. He had those who followed from afar, the masses that knew OF Him, but didn't KNOW Him. The disciples made a greater commitment to follow Him. To them He shared many of life's lessons. But the 3 in his inner circle, Peter, James and John interacted with Jesus in the most intimate way.

Who do you have in your friendship circles? Do you have an open space in the circle for new relationships? Are you maintaining your existing friendships? Perhaps a note or phone call during this Christmas season would be the best gift you could give them.

John 3:16 a says, "For God so loved the world, that he GAVE..." What are you giving this Christmas season?

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