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Dec 2009

Christmas is Merrier Between Friends

As you make plans with family over Christmas- and as you reflect on your year and appreciate the new community God is building between us at Redemption Hill- take a moment to think about the friendship that ideally should be reflected in both family and community.  C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves points to the riches and depth of community that friendship brings.

In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that (my close friend) Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s reaction to a specifically Charles joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him “to myself” now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald. Hence true Friendship is the least jealous of loves. Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth, if only the newcomer is qualified to become a real friend.

You likely have ideas of what sorts of things you need to do to have a Real Christmas.  Perhaps you have to make Christmas cookies- see the James Center  lights- go by the Jefferson to see the giant gingerbread house- drive down Monument Avenue- decorate a tree- write Christmas cards- pull out Christmas plates to use the entire month of December- buy the perfect, yet discounted, gift for a long list of people.  (Self disclosure: this is my personal list.)

Yet if we do all these things, and do not have love and friendship with the people we need the most, we have not had a Real Christmas.  Enjoying people, laughing with others, telling stories, playing games- these are the times with others that enrich our lives.  Christmas is stressful?  Or boring?  Or depressing?  We don’t have to live in the expectations that are leftovers from the past.  Real friendship is the greatest embellishment to life.  Building community and friendship is the hardest, most-worthwhile way that you could spend precious holiday hours.  And in the friendships we build, we gain a window into heaven…as Lewis explains in this passage from The Four Loves.

…we possess each friend not less but more as the number of those with whom we share him increases. In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious “nearness by resemblance” to Heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah’s vision are crying “Holy, Holy, Holy” to one another (Isaiah VI, 3) The more we thus share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall all have.


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