"Often the strongest memories of our past are indelibly imprinted into our memory bank through our senses, especially the sense of smell." Awaken Your Senses: Exercises for Exploring the Wonder of God, pg. 158
We smell our memories. Like pine trees, snicker doodles, winter air, steamy hot chocolate, a fire in the fire place....those are the smells I remember and associate with Christmas. Each is stored in my memory bank and awakened during the Christmas season when I re-smell them and re-member them again. Smells are nostalgic.
Take a moment and think about the smells that are most memorable to you at Christmas time. What do you associate with each? How do you react to each? Do you remember when you first smelled them?
Now imagine the smells of the first Christmas; the smells of a newborn babe--a mixture of blood and vernix--that cheesy-white, sweet-smelling substance that covers a newborn; the pungent smells of a stable, complete with manure, gamey animals and earthy shepherds; and two parents saturated in the scent of the journey, of dusty highways and sweat and roadside bathroom breaks.
It's not quite the same bouquet of nostalgic Christmas scents, is it?It strikes me how antiseptic the Advent of Jesus becomes when we forget to soak in the scents of the first Christmas.
How can you and I live more deeply in the real story of Christ's Advent? Perhaps by breathing in the fumes of our world; the unfiltered fragrance of our own stables and then linking them with his.