The Christmas season seems to get started with the smell of turkey. One of the greatest blessings of being the host of Thanksgiving dinner is that the aroma seem to travel to every corner of the house. Those smells are so rich in comfort and satisfaction. Throughout the holiday season, there are many smells that seem to be part of Christmas. My kids even have a scratch and sniff Christmas book. Our noses seem to love the anticipation of the holiday, cookies baking, wassail on the stovetop, peppermint candy canes, a fire in the fireplace and of course the fresh pine tree in our family rooms.
One time, a few years ago I walked into a Yankee candle store and was looking for a candle of a specific color to match my room. The salesclerk said to me with an air of pious, "we are a fragrance store, not a décor shop". So, I wanted to see what this "fragrance store" thought that Christmas should smell like. I found things like Hearthside, Balsam and Fir, Christmas Cookie, Mountain Pine, and Peppermint swirls.
I love these aromas, and they really do add to my love of this season. But, today I got a little perspective about the true scents of Christmas. I went to a barn, on a preschool fieldtrip. We pet bunnies and kitties. We said hello to some goats, and enjoyed seeing the sheep's full winter coat. But the reason we went was to see a live nativity. As I stood there, watching my little guys get up close to see baby Jesus, and listen to the music playing, I got a little emotional. The shepherds came and bowed in front of King Jesus, it really was beautiful.
It struck me that Christmas with cookies and peppermint and pine is kind of a cover. The true Christmas smelled like manure and hay and earth. There was such humility in that scene. I am amazed anew today that the King of the World, came to save me, as a vulnerable baby, in a barn!
Though I promise I won't be burning stinky candles when my family comes for Christmas Eve. I will, however keep the scents of the stable alive in my heart as I celebrate the season.