I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. -Philippians 1:3-5.
How do you stay connected to your long-distance friends? Maybe your friends are former roommates from college, the dorky kid who lived next door when you were 5, or the elderly couple who adopted you while you lived states away from your parents. How do you honor these relationships that God clearly used to mold you into the adult you are today? Especially when you don’t see or communicate with theses people often.
Many of my closest friends were made in youth group. We saw each other through the braces phase, the boy band glory, and everything in between. After we all left for college, we wanted a way to rekindle our friendships during the holidays. So, we decided to celebrate with a dinner party we fondly dubbed Holiday Homecoming.
Think adults who are transported back to 2005 for a few hours when Lance Armstrong was still making cycling cool, Carrie Underwood had just won American Idol, and a pre-Justin Bieber Youtube existed.
The evening includes
- finding a date who helps you prepare a dish for the event
- taking embarrassing homecoming-styled photos
- sitting-down for a carbo-load dinner (because what do you make for a group of 25 besides pasta, pasta, pasta)
- and a dance with our favorite pop music from when we were in high school
Everyone anticipates Holiday Homecoming because it is our chance to share what’s been happening in our lives the last few months. We can tease about embarrassing memories or congratulate the newly engaged couple. The girls still congregate in a corner and giggle to one another while the guys try to keep their tie on through dinner. You can rely on the best dancer at the party to be the first on the floor starting a group routine made up for the high school talent show.
Predictably, people ask me questions about life in Denver and we catch up on our latest endeavors.
I leave the evening with sore feet, an empty pan of cheesy potatoes, and a full heart.
Holiday Homecoming is our evening to celebrate what God continues to do in each of our lives and our collective community. The entire evening feels like an expression of my thankfulness to God for creating these friendships.
But what happens during the seasons we aren’t together? It is easy to grow apart from from friends who are physically removed from our everyday existence. Plus, the nature of our friendships change as we change. We aren’t the same goofy 18-year-olds that stay up til dawn fueling ourselves with Cheeto Puffs and Dr. Pepper. It’s important to remember that people don’t remain the same so neither will your connection points. This is why it is important to meet together every so often to strengthen these friendships. It will feel like getting to know new versions of the people you love.
Thankfully, technology allows us to champion our friends from afar. But, Holiday Homecoming gives us a tangible time and place to applaud answered prayer requests and hold one another’s hands for things still hoped for. And to express the joy of our partnership in the gospel from the first day we met until now.
Questions for Your Community:
How can you meet-up with your long-distance friends this next season?
How can you make a habit to pray for long-distance friends throughout the year?
How can you ask intentional questions to get to know the new version of your friends?
Create a text message thread between you and your long-distance friends and start planning a unique way you can get together and celebrate the stories God has given each of you.