This 3rd week of Advent, I want to work on being thankful for the gift of smell.
The bible has a few things to say about smell. In the bible, the word smell is often interchanged for Aroma.
- Leviticus 3:5 Then Aaron’s sons shall offer it up in smoke on the altar on the burnt offering, which is on the wood that is on the fire; it is an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the Lord.
- 1 Cor 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
- Proverbs 27:9 The sweet smell of perfume and oils is pleasant, and so is good advice from a friend.
Once again, when checking in with science we learn, everyone can uniquely ID odors. Our brain can identify roughly 10,000 different smells. A woman’s sense of smell is much stronger than a man’s. A person’s sense of smell is weakest in the morning and improves throughout the day. The sense of smell is the strongest link to memories. The proof of this fact is the popularity of scented candles and perfume, millions of dollars are spent every year on these products. A scented candle of sugar cookies or cinnamon spice can immediately bring make memories being in grandma’s kitchen. The same can be said of, if I say, “Dirty socks” or “A smelly gym bag” you are immediately taken back right to the hallway where your smelly shoes/socks and gym bag were dropped!
During this week of Advent, the sense of smell can bring back memories from our childhood, to present days thoughts, like, fresh, crisp night air while ice skating on the neighborhood ice rink. Pine needles while outside cutting the family Christmas tree. Church smells of incense aroma rising to heaven, fresh poinsettias, and candles burning. Who doesn’t enjoy the smell of a new baby. Nursing moms will know what I mean by saying, “The sweet aroma of a nursing baby’s diaper!”
Take a moment, sit down, close your eyes and think about what do you smell, what smells do you enjoy, or what smells are you missing. Imagine the smells of that Mary and Joseph experienced, the clear night air, then as they entered the stable, the cattle, the sweaty fur of a tired donkey, the sweet smell of hay and straw, and each other’s body odor of traveling for days without a bath.
Dear Lord, Thank you for the gift of smell/aroma. Thank you for invoking all the memories of these smells and knowing you are right next to me at all times as I travel toward Bethlehem to witness your birth to save the world.