One summer, our friend Tom created raised beds for my backyard garden. It was a dirty and time-consuming task. He had to remove the stubborn weeds and pull back the sod. He dug deep and removed stones from the soil. He built a sturdy frame of wood. He carted in loads of rich topsoil from his own garden. Sharp thorns penetrated his hands. Mud covered his jeans. Sweat soaked his tee shirt. Tom could have given me the wood and the topsoil and just dumped them in a pile in my yard, but he offered all his labor as a gift. I was humbled and honored by his generosity.
In Luke 7:36, Jesus was dining in the home of a Pharisee when a woman entered the room and knelt down at his feet. Taking out a phial of expensive perfume, the woman began to anoint Jesus. She poured out the contents of the alabaster jar on the bare skin of Jesus feet. She washed his toes and rubbed the callouses on his heels. She wiped them dry with her hair.
Did it ever occur to you that the woman could simply have tied a bow on the jar and handed the bottle of perfume to Jesus as her gift? It would have been a generous offering. Instead she added the gift of a very personal touch.
The Pharisee protested. Did Jesus not realize what kind of woman this was? A prostitute! A sinner! But Jesus refused to reject the woman. The Giver of All Good Gifts accepted her gift with humility.
As we select and wrap presents for our our family and friends this season, don’t forget the importance of adding that personal touch.