But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. — 2 Corinthians 2:14-15
Jesus often spoke to people in parables when he was trying to get them to understand a great truth. We know in our own lives that when something is explained to us from the perspective of our own experience, we not only get it, but it seems to touch our emotional understanding as well. Head knowledge and heart knowledge sticks!
Maybe it is because I see the signs of the Christmas season everywhere that I thought of my grandmother when I read the verses in 2 Corinthians. Growing up it was a very rare occasion that my mother wasn’t around but every year, sometime after Thanksgiving, my mom would be gone for the day. She would be Christmas shopping with her mother, her aunt and her two sisters.
Every year she would come home with the same story, (besides, what seemed to me, a great mountain of packages that seemed to disappear until Christmas morning!) the overwhelming “fragrance” of my grandmother and her aunt.
As with many of that generation, they had not grown up with many luxuries so one of their favorite things to do on the shopping trips were to try the many, many perfumes. Even if you weren’t looking, you could immediately know they were in your presence because of the strong smells they had sprayed, dabbed and wiped all over them. No matter how strong they smelled in the stores, my mom and her sisters knew it would be much stronger in the closed car with them on the ride home. (I know there was much sneezing and coughing going on in the car on the way home!)
I’m sure we have all had the experience of a man or woman coming into our presence and we could smell them before we could see them or after hugging someone having the scent of their cologne on our cheeks after they have left. The scent reminds us of them.
The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians that ‘we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing’. Stop and think for a moment what that means. Stop and think for a moment all the different aromas in your life that when you smell them it immediately brings good feelings and memories or those that may bring not so good feelings and memories.
Now remember that Christ is the beloved Son of God with whom He is well pleased. When we accept the Gospel of Grace, our lives become the ‘aroma of Christ’ to God as we live our lives in the world!
As I think of how hard it must have been to not notice my grandmother and my great-aunt shopping at Christmas time, I can’t help but realize what a blessing it is to be ‘the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing’. It helps me to get the head knowledge as well as the heart knowledge that Christ is with me always, that God always knows me!
The true message of Christmas is the gift of love that God has given to all mankind, the birth of His Son who would save all who believe in Him. As we walk through the days of this Christmas season and notice all the many, many scents of the season, remember that you are ‘to God the aroma of Christ; a child of the King of Glory! What a great gift!
- Jean Danner