What are your favorite smells of the Christmas season? Do you breathe in the pine scent of a real Christmas tree, or a word-burning fireplace, or the crisp winter air? Do you imagine the sweet smell peppermint candy canes, or hot chocolate, or gingerbread? Or do you think of savory aromas like a ham straight from the oven or fresh tamales? Do you look forward to these smells filling your house this Christmas season?
But not all the smells of Christmas are pleasant, are they? Do you dread the scent of materialism and commercialism that seem to dominate Christmas nowadays? Does your face furrow at the aroma of impatience and rudeness that fills the streets and parking lots and lines in the store? Do you cover your nose at the smell of family get-togethers where all it takes is one comment made by relative so-and-so to sour the Christmas spirit?
But what role do you play in the smells of Christmas? Do you fill your house with good cheer? Or do you fill it with edginess, irritation, and stress because you let the busyness of Christmas get to you? Are you part of the impatience and rudeness on the road or in the stores? Do stir up family drama because of stubbornness and pride? Are you part of Christmas that stinks?
Consider this: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1, 2)
As you do a study in the Bible on what smells good to God and what doesn’t, you learn two things:
1) Sin stinks to God. Every part of it wreaks to Him – the selfishness, the self-righteousness, the self-pity, the self-indulging. And then to have to admit how much of that stench fills our Christmas, well, quite frankly, it stinks. It’s an aroma God despises and rejects.
2) The sacrifice made for our sin smells sweet to God. The one sacrifice for all on the cross is what pleases God – the sacrifice made for you, the sacrifice for our multitude of sins, the sacrifice that makes peace and gives forgiveness.
You see, this is why Christ was born: To sacrifice Himself for us and our sins. This is an aroma that God loves and accepts; never did death smell so pleasing! It is the scent of salvation which overcomes the odor of sin! It is the fragrance of forgiveness!
Now imagine this smell filling your house this Christmas season. Imagine Christ being the center of all your Christmas happiness. Imagine His love filling your house, His forgiveness filling your house, His peace filling your house. Imagine the difference it would make in a typical Christmas. Imagine the difference it would make in spirit, in attitudes, in relationships. Imagine the contentment it would give, the bond it would create, the joy it would exude.
...You don’t have to imagine it. “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Breathe in the fragrance of the Savior who was born to die for you, and know that you are indeed forgiven fully. And breathe out His love to others as an imitator of God. When God's sacrificing love is in the air, never will your Christmas smell so sweet.
Questions or Comments? Click here to contact Daniel.
Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
Daniel is the Staff Minister at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, El Paso TX.