• Dwight Dunn

Christmas Smells: Reminders of What Jesus Does for Us

This Advent blog post is one of a series of devotions from the Teaching through the Trimmings devotional. The devotions use the sights of Christmas to remind us of Jesus Christ. To download the complete devotional, please click here

Christmas time brings with it many wonderful smells: pine, gingerbread, oranges with cloves, cinnamon pinecones, fresh baked cookies, Christmas dinner and many more. The scents of Christmas add to the season’s excitement. What are your favorite Christmastime smells?

Wisemen, also called Magi, traveled from a far-away country to see Jesus. These men studied the stars and ancient writings. The men noticed an unusual star in the sky. They knew from the star that a king of the Jewish people was born. They traveled to Jesus’ country of Judea to find this king. The star reappeared and showed them to Jesus’ house in Bethlehem. The wisemen were not at the manger where Jesus was born but saw him sometime later at his house.

The wisemen came to Jesus to worship Him and present Him gifts. They gave Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh. Frankincense and myrrh have strong scents and were given to Jesus for special reasons. Frankincense and myrrh come from trees. People cut the trees’ bark and gather the sap that flows from them. The sap dries into hard pebbles called frankincense and myrrh. The pictures below show the trees that frankincense and myrrh sap come from and what it looks like when dried.



Both frankincense and myrrh have several different types of scents. Their smells depend on the type of tree they come from, the soil they grow in, and even the weather. Some people describe frankincense as a musty pine and citrus smell similar to rosemary. People describe myrrh’s smell as a combination of wood and medicine.

The wisemen’s gifts have important meaning. Gold is for royalty. They gave gold to Jesus because He is a king. Before Jesus was born, the people used Frankincense in their worship. The priests burned incense as a picture of prayers offered to God. The smoke rising as the frankincense burned pictured prayer going up to God. The pleasant smell of the incense showed that God was pleased with prayer. The wisemen gave Jesus frankincense because He is our priest who prays for us.

Myrrh was used when burying someone. This unusual gift for a child shows us that Jesus was born so that He could die to pay for the sins of His people After Jesus died on the cross, His friends prepared his body for burial. They covered His body with layers of linen. Between the layers of linen, they put 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes. Three days later, Jesus would leave His grave clothes behind when he rose from the dead.

The Bible says that gifts will be given to Jesus again when He returns to bring the New Heavens and New Earth. Rather than a few wisemen worshiping and bringing gifts to Jesus, the nations of the world will come to worship Jesus and present Him gifts. Isaiah 60:6 says that gold and frankincense will be among those gifts. Myrrh will not be among the gifts because Jesus will not come again to die. Jesus will return to bring the New Heavens and the New Earth. He will judge the world and put an end to sin. He will live with His people and they will be with Him forever.

Remember: Let your favorite Christmas smells remind you of frankincense and myrrh. Jesus is your priest who prays for you. Jesus was born to die for His people’s sins.

Discuss: The wisemen knew that Jesus deserves to be worshiped and given gifts. What type of gifts should we give to Jesus? How can we worship Him more this Christmas season?

Pray: Thank you Jesus that as our king, you rule and protect us. Thank you for being our priest who prays for us. Thank you for dying for us so that we can receive your Father’s forgiveness and love. We love you. Amen.

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