The Scent of Christmas

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They say that smell is attached to memory and I believe it. My parents have been dead for years and yet they are brought to mind most readily through my sense of smell. For example, my dad, now gone for over 50 years, used to splash on a little "Old Spice" after shave as part of his grooming ritual. As a little boy he would tease me by dabbing my cheek with the stuff while I watched him shave. To this day the scent of that bygone fragrance brings him back to me in a way that nothing else can.

This is not a unique experience, however, we all have certain memories, good and bad, triggered by the smell of certain foods, things, or places. I know many people who don't like the smell of flowers because it reminds them of the loss of loved ones and the funerals that accompanied those painful moments. For so many of us the sense of smell is the portal to experience vivid moments from the past.

Perhaps this is why Paul the Apostle uses our sensitivity to smell in describing the effect that Christians have on other people.

"For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." II Cor. 2:15

Paul is reminding us that our behavior gives off an aroma that creates an impression on other people for Christ, and like all smells, brings to mind a good or bad memory.

My hope for us is that in the future the memory of this Christmas will not only be brought back by the smell of pine trees and eggnog but also by the scent of kindness, forgiveness, self-control and faith. Fragrances that testify to the presence of Christ in the heart and recognized by all in every season.