It’s the time of the year for making lists. We have lists of things we need to get done around the house before our loved ones can come for a visit. We have lists of projects we need to finish so that perfect gift can be home made.
We have grocery lists. We have lists of our cherished ministries that we need to support this time of year. We have lists of gifts to buy. We need to update our mailing list so our cards can be delivered. We have prayer lists that include our friends and loved ones who have special needs this season. We have lists.
But I got to thinking about a phrase I recently saw in a book review. The book is entitled, Made for People and it is written by Justin Whitmel Earley. The review was in Christianity Today.
Justin’s book is all about friendships and the need for vulnerability and intentionality in our relationships. And rather than just referring to those relationships as friendships, he calls them COVENANT FRIENDSHIPS.
He is contrasting the diluted “friendships” reflected in our modern social media with those Godly relationships found in the scripture. He says that a “COVENANT FRIENDSHIP is a relationship where someone fully knows you and loves you anyway. These COVENANT FREINDSHIPS are marked by vulnerability and a commitment to stay around.”
That’s hard to do in a world known for speed dating, Instagram, relationships initiated by a quick swipe right or left and where over fifty percent of the marriages end in divorce. Which may be why the surgeon general has recently named loneliness as America’s top health problem.
That thought brings me back to our list making. How about you and I start something new this holiday season? Instead of just “gift carding” everyone, let’s make a particular list of friends (and family members) who genuinely care for us and we for them. Let’s write down the names of those who are willing to openly express their thoughts and fears with us. Let’s note the people who join us in silly rituals and fun activities that act like “a warm fire in a lonely world.”
That will be an amazing list and it deserves our special attention. Those kinds of God-centered friendships bring so much joy to our lives. They are worth some extra time and attention.
Maybe we ought to write a note and let them know just how much they mean to us. Our maybe make a silly gift that will instantly draw both of us back to a sweet moment in time. Of have a picture framed that shows us both having fun together. Or maybe share a page out of our journal that recorded those prayers we said for them during a difficult time in their life.
These are special people, so go ahead, make the list and celebrate your COVENANT FRIENDSHIPS!