The Smells of Christmas

Dec. 23, 2011

Luke 2:7

And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

My nose is alive with the wonderful smells of Christmas. Foremost, I’m a real Christmas tree tsar. I love walking into the house and smelling the tree, even before I see it. I know there are lots of good reasons to have an artificial tree. I just haven’t bought into them yet because I do not want to give up the smell of the real deal.

A week ago, a friend sent me a vase of Christmas flowers. I’ve had it on my home desk the last number of days and its fragrance fills my nostrils as I type on the laptop. Yum!

I broke down last night and made a batch of rosettes. These are little crispy fry cakes that we always made in December when I was growing up. I’m not especially fond of the frying oil smell that is left behind. But smelling the rosettes, prettily laid out on the kitchen counter, dusted with powered sugar this morning reminds me of the kitchen on the farm where I grew up.

Yesterday morning, I awoke to a beautiful painting of white snow outside. It was a picture-perfect scene. The snow hung on the branches all day. It was so crisp and clean and downright beautiful. Stepping outside and breathing deep to fill my lungs with the winter air, my nostrils received a symphony of snow smell. You didn’t think snow could smell, did you?  Try it the next time we have a fresh, new dusting.

Personally, nothing transports me back faster to another time and place than an appropriate smell. One of my all-time favorite smells is freshly brewed coffee. As a child, I couldn’t stand the taste. My Grandma Deaton would lovingly let me set on her lap and smell her coffee. She put cream and sugar in it, so as I stirred and wafted the aroma steaming off her cup, it also had a little sweet smell. When I want the house to smell great, I simply brew a pot of coffee. Hmm …

There were smells that first Christmas. Cow dung and wool. Fresh straw. Maybe the dampness that often accompanies a stable or animal cave. Who cannot appreciate the smell of a new baby?

Maybe Mary remembered these smells and she too was transported back to another time and place whenever she smelt them later on in her life. She didn’t have a camera or a camcorder to record the night’s events. But smells … this was something she could use to remember those special hours and minutes when the Messiah entered this world. I’m confident there were many smells that recalled those special moments for Mary and Joseph.

Let your nose help you celebrate and enjoy this special time of the year. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Be filled with the smells that abound. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. May the Spirit of God enliven your live and soul these next few days.

Let us pray: O Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air; dispel in glorious splendor the darkness everywhere. True man yet very God, from sin and death now saw us, and share our every load. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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