We finally got our tree, and it’s a beauty! The best part of all is that, for the first time in several years, we were able to find a Carolina Sapphire. Now, if you’ve never seen one, you’re missing out. They’re gorgeous with a silvery-blue tint and tiny little buds that look like decorations. Words just can’t describe to you how lovely these trees are nor can they convey how heavenly they smell. Around my house, we sing, “It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas” because the Sapphire carries with it the pleasing aroma of nature. Seriously, the smell puts the nicest cedar to shame. We love it!
On the day I was decorating the tree, I kept taking deep breaths, sucking in that magnificent scent, but in the midst of it all, a thought struck me. Suddenly, I was reminded of another fragrant tree, though this tree did not carry an aroma of its own. No, the smell wafting from it was due to the figure hanging upon it. Yes, the scent was coming from Jesus, and despite the wretchedness of His appearance and the despair of His body, the smell was not at all unpleasant. It was the spicy scent of spikenard that clung to His body after Mary anointed Him with the oil at their last meeting. Though some time had passed, the aroma lingered as did the memories of Mary’s precious gift.
I can imagine Jesus struggling to take a breath, fighting the pain as the nails tore through His hands and feet. But as He pushes His body upward, just enough to gasp for a breath of air, He smells the spikenard and smiles. Somebody believed Him. Someone loved Him. Someone thought enough of Him to lavish Him with an expensive spice that cost an entire year’s wages. Someone cared. What a comfort that must have been to Him when even His Father turned away in disgust at the horrible sin that was laid upon our Savior.
I realize that the Christmas season is about the birth of Christ, not His death, but if you think about it, the season is really about both. After all, Christ was born to die. His purpose for coming to this world and taking human form was so that He could pay the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. That being the case, at Christmas, I like to celebrate the fact that Jesus was born, but I also love to reflect upon the reason that He was born. He came for me. He came for you. He came that all mankind might know Him and dwell with Him for all eternity if they only accept Him. He is the way, the truth and the life.
So, I guess you could say that on Christmas day, God made a way in a manger.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. - John 3:16