May the Hand of a Friend Always Be Near You

At midnight I rise to give you thanks
    for your righteous laws.
I am a friend to all who fear you,
    to all who follow your precepts.
The earth is filled with your love, Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
Psalm 119:62-64

On this Thanksgiving Eve, I’m thankful for the gift of friendship.

As I write this, I’m watching Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, a classic holiday movie about two strangers who navigate the most ridiculous journey home for Thanksgiving. It makes me think about the wonderful friendships I have formed, sometimes under unusual circumstances or in unexpected places.

Friends are so important in our walk with Christ. They lift us up, ground us, keep us accountable, challenge us, laugh with us, offer a shoulder to cry on, grieve with us and celebrate right along side us. There are many examples of friendship in the Bible: Jonathan and David, Ruth and Naomi, Barnabas and Paul. Jesus modeled friendship with his disciples. It is an essential and beautiful part of life.

For a lot of us, Thanksgiving means going home. Back to the place we grew up, where we made our first friends. A lot of people have become strangers but there are those precious few people who we look forward to seeing every time we go home. They know our past and share some of our favorite memories. There’s something special about the people who knew you when you had braces, awkward bangs and loved Limited Too a little TOO much.

I have a few of these dear childhood friends and several more from other stages and experiences in my life. God has very clearly ordained some of these friendships and they have left indelible marks on my life. You know when you meet someone who just gets you? It’s like you are speaking the same language, almost like they have known you as long as your childhood friends. Those people are treasures. Kindred spirits.

As Tyler and I make the move back home to Maine, and away from many of our friends, I have been thinking a lot about how important it is to cultivate and nourish these friendships. I have friends I haven’t seen in months, some I haven’t seen in years. Yet I know we are still knit together by heart and I pray that God would hold the fibers of our friendship together in spite of the distance that separates us.

Thank You, Jesus, for modeling friendship and for being the ultimate friend to us. I ask for your blessing and favor over all my friends tonight, scattered as they are. I praise You for the way You have put people into my life who have become unexpected gems and beacons of light. I thank You for the way they sustain me and teach me about myself and what it means to love others. I pray over the transition in our friendship and that the road between our houses would still be well traveled.

“May the hand of a friend always be near you” – Irish Blessing

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!