We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. 1 John 4:6 (NIV)
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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.
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 give your eighty-year-old aunt a power drill (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) shows we’re not taking the time to make gifts personal.
Here’s the thing: just like gifts, love operates as personal. Jesus came in person. He didn’t come to us as a religion, a set of laws, or merely as an ideal; he came in person. Through his death and resurrection he brings us into the personal embrace of a passionate and loving relationship.
We live in an increasingly impersonal world where “don’t call us until you’ve read through all the frequently asked questions” is the norm, and when we finally do call, we get a recorded voice. We live as if better organization, perfect efficiency, and instant acquisition will somehow deliver us from our meaninglessness and hopelessness.
Yet, Jesus-one, we are from God, the Creator and Protector of all that is personal. Through our personalized expression of love for each other we proclaim: “Do you want to see who the person of God is and how he personally loves us? Watch how we love one another.”