“Cranberry spice,” was the label on one candle. I imagined the candle on the mantle of my fireplace and placed three in my cart. On another shelf, the label on a red packet proclaimed, “Red Hot Cinnamon: Luxurious Simmering Potpourri.” I picked up the packet and the scent of cinnamon teased my nose. I inhaled and could imagine the scent filling my home.
Scents. They are such an essential part of Christmas.
Freshly baked bread.
I am thinking also of another scent that can permeate our lives this Christmas season as we engage in every activity, including standing in long lines to purchase groceries and gifts. The scent I am thinking of is that of prayer. In Psalm 141:2, David prayed, “Let my prayer be like incense offered before You, and my uplifted hands like the evening sacrifice.”
Revelation chapter 5 paints a gripping scene in which the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, Who is also the Lamb, takes center place and is worshiped. He is worshiped by angels, and elders, and the living creatures, and every creature in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and in the sea. In the midst of this awe inspiring scene, our prayers are mentioned. Verse 8 states, “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (emphasis added). Our prayers are incense to the One Who sits on the Throne and to the Lamb.
What would happen if this incense permeates our lives this Christmas? What if we prayed for each person on our Christmas card and/or gift list? Prayed as we purchased their gift and/or wrapped it? What if we prayed for the impatient person ahead of us in line? The frazzled cashier? The person who cuts us off in traffic? The postal worker or whomever it is who delivers our mail this Christmas season? For those who are without whatever we are enjoying in a given moment … warmth, shelter, fellowship, a meal? What if we prayed for ourselves … that His peace will flood our hearts, that we will chose joy, that we quiet our souls in His presence, that we remain focused on Him Who is both the Giver of every good and perfect gift and the Gift? What if we prayed as we never have before during previous Christmases?
The prayers mentioned above involve petitions but I pray that our prayers also be prayers of worship, praise and thanksgiving. Prayers in which we do not make any requests; instead we worship Him for Who He is. Prayers in which we praise and thank Him for what He has done and is doing. Prayers in which we thank Him for loving us and we express our love to Him.
May our lives be scented with prayer this Christmas.