By Tommy Rush

Have you ever noticed that Christmas smells different than any other season of the year? I’ve always enjoyed the smell of a fresh cut Christmas tree and the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg in a fresh baked pumpkin pie. I’ve always enjoyed the smell of a fire burning in the fireplace at Christmas. Someone told me recently that these specific smells are actually smells of love that have a way of reminding me of some of our best memories.

I’ve never thought of specific aromas as smells of love, but I guess they really are. Whenever I smell Divinity and Fudge Candy cooking or Hot Apple Cider on a stove, immediately I’m reminded of my grandmother’s kitchen and her love for us at Christmas. Another smell of love is the last hug of the day from a just bathed grandchild in their pjs as they head to bed. The more I think about it, the more I agree that there really are a lot of things that smell of love!

In my lifetime I’ve been in a lot of old barns. I’ve never been in one that didn’t smell to some degree of fermenting silage, animal manure or rotten hay. Most people would never consider these specific smells as smells of love but those who believe God’s Word realize that is exactly what they are. It’s truly amazing that God entered the world as a baby, but even more amazing that He was born in a stable among cattle, hay and sheep. The first people given the privilege of laying their eyes on the Son of God other than Joseph and Mary was a group of smelly shepherds. Think about it – God gave this great blessing to the shepherds. Shepherds were people who were basically shut out and shut off from society in the first century. They were not even allowed to enter the temple because they were considered unclean. The story of the shepherds seeing Jesus first declares loud and clear the wonderful goodness and grace of God!

There was no Christmas tree, Christmas lights or chestnuts roasting on an open fire that first Christmas night. Just a baby in a feeding trough, surrounded by some animals, His parents, and some shepherds who most likely smelled a lot like sheep. And it’s great to know that the baby they saw lying in the manger that night is the reason we celebrate Christmas. The same joy they experienced is available to all of us who believe. May He fill your home this Christmas with the smells of His goodness, grace and love!

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