Friendship Advent Reflection, December 4

As we continue with some of the ancient Greek thinkers who thought about friendship, we turn next to Aristotle. Aristotle covers friendship as part of his discussion of the ethical life. For the Greek philosophers, ethics was a means of achieving, experiencing, and maintaining a flourishing life. For Aristotle, friendship was the highest virtue one could cultivate. Have you ever thought about friendship as a virtue? For Aristotle a virtue was a kind of habit that you practiced over a lifetime, making it suitable to you, your personality and your status. How many of us actually view our friendships as good habits that we try to get better at over a lifetime? In youth, friendships seem to come easily for some of us. However, over time, as we get busy with our lives, our jobs, and families, are we truly taking the time to cultivate and practice our friendships? As you approach this Advent season, I invite you to think about friends who are dear to you, near and far. Do you think you might have a moment to write your friend a card, shoot them an email or text, or maybe (gasp) pick up the phone for a call? I wonder if we might discover that practicing friendship as a virtue may just be the key to slow down, reflect on what is important, and experience a flourishing life.

Each day of advent, from Dec. 1 to Dec. 25, I plan to post a few thoughts on an aspect of friendship I learned while writing my book, Virtuous Friendship: The New Testament, Greco-Roman Friendship Language, and Contemporary Community. This will be a chance for me to share with you all a little bit from what I learned, while giving you, hopefully, a chance to take a deep breath during this busy season and do some reflection. Also, you won't have to secure another resource for Advent. I realize that you are all at many different places with regard to faith and belief, so use these reflections however you see fit. If you'd be interested in having me come speak at your church, lead a Bible Study, or even just Zoom or Skype in for a Q&A with a Sunday School class or other small group, let me know: doug.hume@pfeiffer.edu.

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