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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Hey Dustball!

Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. –Genesis 2:7

Hey Dustball!

Yeah, I’m talking to you.  According to Genesis, you and I are living, breathing balls of dust.  How does that make you feel?

Maybe you would have preferred God add a little sugar and spice?   Some moonbeams and stars?  Nope.   God just reached down, piled together some dust, and here we are.   That’s what we’re made of.

Funny thing, though.  Have you noticed how hard we work to stay clean?  We wash our hands so we don’t spread germs.  We wash our hair so it won’t get greasy.   We wash our clothes so they don’t smell.  We sweep and mop and Swiffer so there’s not a speck of dust on our floors.

Some of us even own dust busters.

Heck, there’s a robotic vacuum cleaner called the “Dust Ball”!   Isn’t that a little bit ironic?  Supposedly we’re made from dust, and yet we seem to be down right terrified of it.   It makes me wonder — do we live our lives running from our very nature?   Is it possible  God created us to be a little grungy to begin with?

I’m reminded of Pigpen from the Peanut’s comic strips.   Remember him? Now there’s a guy who is comfortable in his own dust.   Even on the rare occasions when he’d clean himself up, it’s like the dust would find him.   It was his natural state.

And it’s ours, too, after all.   Even if you don’t read the creation story literally, our modern-day fascination with cleanliness is only a few hundred years old.   Certainly, we’ve learned about germs and sanitation, and that’s propelled our need to bleach out any stains, but maybe it’s more than that.

Maybe we’ve convinced ourselves that the very earth we come from is somehow separate from ourselves.   With every lather, rinse, and repeat we may be trying to distance ourselves from the very dust we’ve sprung up from.  And if indeed that’s what we’re doing, might that create distance between ourselves and the God who created us?

Gardeners know it.  Farmers know it.  There’s something Holy about being connected with the Earth.  A little dust might do you and I some good.

So let’s go barefoot — just like Adam and Eve!  Skip an occasional shower, even.  Let’s plant some flowers.  Get some soil under our fingernails and be happy about it.

After all, Dustball, being connected to the Earth God created…

Is nothing to sneeze at.

Have a Great Week,

Mitch