When a friend asked me to watch her daughter, I jumped at the chance to spend time in the company of a young child. I picked her up from morning kindergarten, and we began the walk to my house.

Mikayla talked about the story the teacher had read, the changing leaves, the sidewalk cracks, her violin teacher, the letters on the street sign, the green peppers growing at her house.

Somewhere in this delightful, mostly one-sided conversation, she took my hand, looked up at me and said, “It’s good to have a friend to walk with.”

Simplistic, yet profound, encompassing a lifetime of wisdom. I was driven to immediate praise to God for His kindness and love. His graciousness has brought countless friends across my path, some known, some unknown, some for years, some for a brief moment.

Created in God’s likeness as social creatures, we need friends, and it is a privilege to be used by God to be those friends…..
…A parent who texts, “I am praying for you.”
…The man at church who repairs your car free of charge.
…The Ukrainian woman who grasps the hands of the visiting pastor and says through an interpreter, “I pray for your American church every day.”
…The stranger behind you in line who hands you the two dollars cash you are short.
…A neighbor down the street who says, “I’ll drive you.”
…A spouse who listens as you talk non-stop for fifteen minutes because your day has been spent with people who come up to your knees.
…A college roommate who prays with you as you work through a deep sadness.
…The mentor who whoops, “I knew you could do it ”
…Another hiker who enjoys the beauty of a sunset with you in silence.
…The lady who shows up on the doorstep of a frazzled young mother—with supper in one arm and a hug in the other.

“Thank you, God, for the opportunities You bring across my path to be a friend. Keep my eyes open to appreciate friends you have brought to walk with me.”

Yes, Mikayla, it is good to have a friend to walk with.

Guest Writer  Jeanne M. Hicks

Thanks Day!

As I was getting my chemo treatment recently, I asked my infusion nurse how she was going to celebrate Thanksgiving.

She immediately replied, “We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving Day, for we believe every day is a day for giving thanks.” I thought about what she said and I agreed with her.

Yet I think it’s beneficial for our family and as a nation to celebrate a special day to give thanks. Our country has so much. Two thirds of the world lives on $2.00 a day, the price of a coke for us Americans. Noel Piper comments in Treasuring God in our Traditions, “God is the reason we have anything to celebrate. He is the ultimate source of any of our celebrations.” p 65.

It’s a perfect time to take inventory of God’s abundant goodness to us. As the family gathers around the table loaded with all kinds of goodies (I love candied sweet potatoes and pecan pie) and as we feast and then gather around TVs for football, we need reminders of our origin and our purpose for living. And the blessings we review ought to be full of spiritual ones, such as an answer to prayer about a person who gossiped about you and you put into practice Matt 18. And God reconciled you.

As we prepare to thank the Lord for the bountiful feast before us, our family custom is to read Psalm 100 together (Psalm 95;1-7 is good, too), and during dinner, we share with one another God’s goodness to us through the year. An Asian family that had just moved to our city knew little or no English and no family to celebrate with. So we invited them to spend Thanksgiving Day with us and our two families transcended the language barrier as we laughed and talked, with the father of the family translating. It was a joyous occasion and after many years, we still keep in touch.

This Thanksgiving Day join us as we say in our hearts and on our lips, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:4).