NOTE: I'm a preachers dog and sometimes I can get a little long winded. But I'm passionate about this.
Here we are in the midst of the Advent season preparing for and waiting for Christmas.
What does our sense of scent send you at Advent? Beyond John the Baptist’s interesting wilderness aromas it is the scent-ness and the sent-ness of Advent I want to consider today: “thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved” (2 Cor.2:14-15).Are you “Adventing” Christmas with a holy aroma? Notice I didn’t say “Advertising” Christmas. I said “Adventing” Christmas? I hope me and my MOM’s following thoughts will help you in “Adventing” Christmas.
The scent of hope: Scentness, a cool shower, a fresh bar of soap, the cleansing rinse of shampoo running down the drain. Toweling off, naked with the possibility of a brand new start. The metaphor writes itself, does it not? It recalls to mind the fact that God’s heart beats perpetually in desire for God’s creation to return to Himself, finding life where life was first imagined.
Sentness: As sent ones, carrying the fragrance of Christ into our world begs the question: how are we inviting others to imagine a fresh start, filled with new found expectation?
Our Response: Invite a friend to recover something they have lost hope in: a sense of future possibilities, a fresh start, a different path than they are currently walking. How can your presence inspire new life?
The scent of peace: Scentness, knuckles calmly kneading dough into formation, spreading yeast throughout a fresh loaf of bread. The smell of rising dough baking in the oven, wafting throughout the house, filling one’s home, and one’s soul, with a calmness sorely needed. The pace of bread-making demands a rhythm through which peace can only descend: Collecting ingredients, measuring correct amounts, stirring, kneading, softening, adding a spicy surprise. Again, are we speaking of baking bread or a sense of calm that we all wish would descend upon our lives?
Sentness: As sent ones, do we carry the aroma of peace — the weight of peace into the lives of our family and friends, or does chaos and discord reign?Our Response: Take a gracious, yet honest look at your relationships. Are you a person of peace to those around you, or do you wear down those whom you are in relationship with? Invite the Spirit to calm your spirit, and breathe a fresh scent into your soul.
The scent of joy: Scentness, a soft, breeze drifts over you as you walk on a favorite path, mingling with puffs of breath that escape from your lips. The sound of leafless trees rustling in the breeze, running away from a year of struggle, hard growth, and transformation, leaving behind all that weighs us down. The sight of a bright blue sky clashing gloriously with a snow covered ground. Doesn’t joy smell like the simple pleasures of a holiday walk?
Sentness: As sent ones, do we invite others into this experience of the profound pleasures of life, or do we linger in the disappointments of what should have been? Isn’t it time for letting go?Our Response: Joy is best expressed at a loud volume. Invite a friend to laugh, sing, or talk LOUDLY, enjoying the simple pleasures that life can bring. You’ll be amazed at how quickly joy will join the conversation.
The scent of love: Scentness, the blending of dirty diapers and baby powder, selflessly applied to a newborn infant. The warm embrace of mother and child, enjoying a few stolen moments of rest, experiencing an intimacy that the Father longs for us to know through Christ. As Jesus says, ‘Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.’
Sentness: As sent ones, what is more selfless than forsaking one’s life as a mother, to allow the growth and flourishing of a child?
Our Response: Deliberately serve family and friends in areas that you know they will experience the scent of love, regardless of what you receive through this act of service.
The scent of Christmas: Scentness, spicy cinnamon cider, mingling with the promise of a new morning through that first glorious cup of coffee. The smells of Christmas lunch invading the entire house, promising a meal worthy of a King. Again, a metaphor much deeper than simple food and drink: Instead, an invitation to welcome the gentle invasion of Jesus in to our world, a promise through an infant that reaches far greater than we can imagine or conceive. For it is in Advent that we celebrate the beginning and ending of Christ’s victory over the powers of evil, and we call upon God to accomplish that victory in our own lives, to break in on us, to be born in our hearts, and to create us anew. This is the message of Isaiah to us: A Savior is coming not only to Israel but to the whole world.
Sentness: As sent ones, how do we extend this welcome of the Christ Child to our neighbors that God has placed in our world?Our Response: Join the world in a chorus that Charles Wesley first penned in 1745: "Come, Thou long expected Jesus."
Thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere. “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are . . . an aroma that brings life.” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16 NIV).
Blessings to you as you go about "Adventing" Christmas,
Goose and My MOM