Have you ever noticed how quickly a certain smell can bring up emotions or memories? The hallway to my kindergarten always smelled of glue, crayons, and, somehow, learning. If you could bottle that scent up and release a bit around me unannounced, I’d immediately be transported right back to the place of months of the year and macaroni pieces.
I think my favorite smell of all is Christmas: a subtle combination of cinnamon, pine, cloves, vanilla, and hope. Above all, hope.
Christmas and hope are inseparable because hope is the point of Christmas. It’s also the heart of who God is. Let’s make our own mixture of lyrics and verses on the topic to scent the holidays: a kind of hope-pourri. (Yes, that was awful. I’m working on it.)
“The world waits for a miracle;
The heart longs for a little bit of hope.
Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel.”
(‘Light of the World’)
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
“A thrill of hope,
The weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”
(‘O Holy Night’)
And in His name the Gentiles will hope.
“Hope is a Savior who was born in the manger,
Sent down from Heaven to rescue our hearts.”
(‘The Christmas Hope’)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
The Christmas story (and the story we find ourselves in at this moment in history) is one of both hope realized and hope waiting. Ever since the fall, millions of souls had died with the hope of a Savior still to come who would crush the head of our enemy. Waiting, suffering, grasping that promise like a lifeline. The cries of God’s people were finally met by the cries of His Son one night as the angels sang and the shepherds arrived. And a little over three decades later, that Son did crush the head of our enemy. But we still wait for the last hope to manifest: the fulfillment of His promise to return and make all things right forever.
I’m going to dwell in hope this December: its different aspects and how to disperse it to those around us and around the world. And maybe I’ll break out the glue and macaroni pieces while I’m at it.