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Last week, amidst the hustle and bustle of the season, I took the time to meet up with an old dear friend.  A bestie in today’s terms, or as I prefer, a kindred spirit.  I’ve known her since our first full-time ministry position when her husband also served on staff as the youth pastor.  From the first, we understood each other.  We were both sort of shell-shocked with the whole pastors’ wife thing.  We both knew that faking it wasn’t going to work.  We had long conversations on this topic.   Beyond that common bond, we had fun together.  She accepted me as I was.  I didn’t have to put on a mask.  We’ve been through thick and thin together and weathered some storms.  We haven’t even lived close to each other for the majority of our friendship.  There were some years that we lived hundreds of miles and provinces apart. But our friendship has lasted.  We pick up where we leave off.   Our friendship is a gift and has continued to be for the last fifteen or so years.  As I thought about Christmas and presents, I began to think about true gifts.  The kinds that money can’t buy.  Sometimes unexpected.  Gifts that continually give even when we don’t deserve it.  Gifts that become even more beautiful as the years go by.  I have been blessed over my life with true gifts of friendship in every place we’ve lived and through every stage of my life.  

Why is friendship a true gift?  Friend makes your life richer.  As I’ve journeyed through life, friends who have shared that pilgrimage, have blessed me beyond measure.  We were meant for relationship.  Sharing life with others enhances our lives, bringing out the joy and beauty we might otherwise not see.  We go from self-absorbed mediocrity to love-filled, outward-focused brilliance.     

As always, true gifts come from the One who knew what gift giving was all about.  He created humans so he could have a friendship with us.  That was the primary reason for Adam being formed.  Not to work.  Nor to do good works.  It was so God could be our friend.  When that relationship was in jeopardy because of a snake and a piece of fruit, even then God had a plan to save it.  His plan?  To give us the gift of His beloved Son.  “For unto us a Child is born; Unto us a child is given”  (Isaiah 9:6)  

Who was the Child born to?  US.  Who was the child given? US.  To all men and women past, present and future.   According to Collins English dictionary, the definition of given is “to present or deliver voluntarily”.  God presented (gifted) us with his Son.  Jesus came willingly, voluntarily.  He wasn’t forced to do anything.  Why?  Because God loves us and He wants to be our friend.  Not just an acquaintance that we might talk to occasionally but a bestie.  A kindred spirit.  Someone we share all our dreams, passions, messes and disasters with.  A friend that walks the journey right alongside you.

He doesn’t stop there.  He mirrors the relationship He desires with us by giving us friends here on earth.  Every person needs at least one good friend.  Some of us need more than one.  As a pastor’s wife, I don’t really know where I’d be without some of the friends I’ve made along the way.   People who have been the hands and feet of Jesus to me and my family.  Gifts of grace.  Gifts of friendship.  True gifts given by the original gift giver.  

What are some of your true gifts?