Christmas traditions - we all have them! Things we love to do, food we love to eat, and smells we don't want to be without!
I love candles! At each Christmas as I put up my artificial Christmas tree, I burn a candle that smells just like a freshly cut pine tree. I love to light the candle every night during the Christmas season. The kind of candle I get is highly scented, so much that even when it's not lit it still releases a scent into the room. It's that smell of Christmas! Fresh pine is my scent of Christmas.
One year, during Christmas, I was spending time in prayer and got distracted by the smell of my candle. I kept breathing in deep, enjoying the smell, and being reminded of sweet Christmas memories. But then the Holy Spirit interrupted my distracted thoughts and pointed something out to me about my "scent of Christmas." He said how beautiful it was that I loved this scent of the tree because it took the chopping down of a tree to crucify Jesus for me. Um yep - that snapped my focus back onto my prayer time and the Lord! ha ha ha! How loving and beautiful this correction was! I went from distracted to becoming completely focused on what the Holy Spirit had to say.
From that minute on, all I could think about was how the birth of Jesus led to the death of Jesus so even as we celebrate His birth we are celebrating the price He paid for each of us by actually coming into the earth in human form. How beautiful, how humbling, how loving. And the manager, which was His first bed, was also made of wood, originating from a tree. Father God loves to bring life full circle which is a full cycle.
From that day, until this very day, every night in the Christmas season that I light my candle I just stare at it and thank the Father for sending Jesus into this world. I stare at the light and wonder if Mary and Joseph had a candle in their stable. I imagine how beautiful, yet how hard, being a first time mother under these circumstances would be. And honestly I can't imagine it because anything I could imagine doesn't come close to the actual hardship she had to endure. But she willingly did it. She joyfully did it, knowing that she carried the favor of God and it was her purpose to give birth to His Son.
Mary gave birth to the Light of the world, Jesus. A Light that always shone bright, a Light that can't be snuffed out. A Light that is constant and eternal.
And in the year 2021, I have the privilege of being able to light a sweet smelling candle and reflect on a time in history that changed it all for me and for you.
And Mary said, my soul magnifies and exalts the Lord
This Christmas season, I invite you to look upon your own traditions and all the things you most look forward to. Then ask the Holy Spirit to show you something about Jesus within them. Bring Jesus into every single thing you do this Christmas. Stay focused on the reason for this season - which is always and ONLY Jesus.