by Linda Veath
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 NIV
As I entered the tire store, I was greeted by the smell of new tires and rubber belts—and I thought of Christmas. Yes, the smell of new tires and rubber belts makes me think of Christmas…
When I was a little girl, I loved to help decorate the large display windows at the warehouse across the street from my grandfather’s service station. A warehouse full of new tires and rubber belts.
Grandpa’s district supervisor came every year for the occasion. No matter the weather, the two of us would “rob” the petty cash drawer, walk to the dime store downtown, and buy lots and lots of decorations. We’d spend the rest of the morning, surrounded by the smell of new tires and rubber belts, decorating those big warehouse windows.
Most people would list the smells of Christmas as evergreen, baking cookies, fire in the fireplace, roasting chestnuts, wassail, hot chocolate, new fallen snow, cinnamon and spice. Not rubber. But none of these are the true fragrance of Christmas. The most important fragrance is the one Christ gave us through His sacrifice on the cross.
When the Old Testament priests entered the Holy of Holies to offer the yearly sacrifices, they threw handfuls of incense on the hot coals so the room was filled with fragrance. In the same way, Christ’s presence in our lives fills us with the fragrance of His love, His forgiveness, His grace and mercy. Fragrances that we can pass along to others. And in doing so, we become a fragrant offering of thanksgiving to Him.
So, as we celebrate this joyful Christmas season, may the many fragrances of Christmas—including new tires and rubber belts—ultimately point us toward the Christ child in the manger.