My mother gave me a great gift and that is sensitivity about giving gifts. She taught me giving a gift is an opportunity to show you’ve thought about the person, taking time to discover likes and needs. She taught me gifts should be personal.
What this translates into is you don’t use a birthday to give a household item you were going to purchase anyway: “Gee, honey, thanks for the vacuum cleaner.” Or, you don’t insensitively give your eighty-year-old aunt a power drill for Christmas (unless that’s what she really wants!). The fact that there are so many returns after Christmas and so many gift cards purchased (okay, I buy them too) reveals we’re not taking the time to make gifts personal.
Here’s the thing: the gift of Jesus is personal. Jesus came in person. He didn’t come to us as a religion, a set of laws, or merely as an ideal. He didn’t come as a generic gift card.
He came in person, and his love for us is personal. Through his birth, death and resurrection, Jesus brings us into the personal embrace of a passionate and loving God. The Incarnation is nothing but personal. It cannot be described in any other way.
And so the gift of love we bring is personal. In that sense, our love must be Incarnational, where we bring the personal love of Jesus to others personally. We invade and invest in their lives personally because we are from God, the Creator and Protector of all that is personal.
Our personalized expression of love says, “God loves you personally, and you can see what that looks like by watching how we thoughtfully and sensitively – personally — love one another.”