Christmas Stinks (And I’m glad)

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PRESENTING:

The Yankee Candle Christmas Eve Edition.

Unfortunately, my monitor isn’t scratch and sniff, so I can’t absorb the scent personally.

But it looks like it would be delightful.

One reviewer described the scent like this:

First bought this scent over 20 years ago, and it is our Christmas family favorite. Reminds me of Christmas Eve at church with the scents of the newly decorated trees, and candles burning as you walk into the dimly lit building..a mild scent of sugared plum, with the essence of vanilla…perfect for setting that Christmas Eve ambiance in any room!

It’s enough to make you nostalgic for Christmas Eves gone by.

Except the first one.

The first one didn’t smell like that.  No sugared plums.  No pine trees.

Nope, if they ever made an authentic Yankee Candle scent for the first Christmas Eve it might look like this:

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And don’t get me started on the lovely scent of unwashed Shepherds!

No, years and years before Christmas became an annual tradition, before the whole notion of the Savior’s birth became sanitized and mass-produced, Christmas was in all likelihood a stinky mess!

That’s helpful for me to remember.  Jesus was not born into a sterile environment, under ideal conditions.

No, God chose to come to Earth where there was POOP present!

Poop, and blood, and smelly hay, and smelly animals, and even smellier shepherds.

Christ’s birth was visceral.  Primitive, even.  Organic.

The very earthiness of that first Christmas Eve should inspire us.  Challenge us.

God did not separate God’s self from God’s creation.  Not in the least.

From Jesus’ first breath and first cry, he was immersed in the world.  The beautiful parts, and the stinky parts.

And as anyone who’s lived a full life can attest…

One does not rule out the other.

Merry Christmas!

Mitch

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The Names of Things

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In Genesis 2, God gives Adam the task of naming all the animals.

It was our first job.  The primary thing for us to do — to give and keep track of the names of things.

If that job falls now to me, God must be disappointed.

I’m not very good at noticing my surroundings, and I’m terrible at identifying things:

Birds, trees, flowers?  I know a cardinal, a weeping willow, and a rose.  That’s about it.

Clouds?  Automobiles?  They’re both pretty much a blur to me as they pass by.

Constellations? People? So much of the time I can’t seem to pull up the names when I need them.

Sometimes I feel like I’m walking around without my glasses on — only dimly aware of the world around me.

I want to see more clearly. I want to know more names of things. Not just because it’s my job, but because it’s the world I live in.

I want to pick up one of those twirly helicopter seed pod things, and be able to tell you the tree it came from.

I want to meet a person once, and then meet them again 3 months later, and be able to call them by name.

I want be able to tell you the names of all the different birds that have come to our feeder, not just the cardinals.

So how does a person learn to do that? Perhaps faith can help.

2 Corinthians 5:7 reminds me that “we walk by faith and not by sight”.

My faith tells me that God placed the spark of life in all the creatures around me.  That God somehow helped form and shape the world I live in.

It is faith that reminds me that the more I know about God’s creation, the more I know about God.

And so, I rededicate myself to the task of naming the world around me,

learning as I go, knowing that God…

is in the details.

Have a great week,

Mitch

Helicopter Seed Pod