Christmas Announcements: What's That Smell?
A pastor friend of mine recently told me that people in his church complain that there are too many announcements. He replies, “There are so many announcements because there are so many things going on.”
Announcements let us know that something important is coming. One may wish to ignore and miss out on the event, or, to listen up and take full advantage of all that is happening.
There are some announcements surrounding the birth of Jesus that need our attention. We don’t want to miss the richness of all that God did in sending His Son.
Zacharias was a priest whose job was to tend to the altar of incense. The incense consisting of expensive ingredients that were specifically kept for use in the Temple. They were holy to the Lord and not for personal use at home. The aroma was unique to the Temple and represented the presence of God and the prayers of the people.
Any priest who spent time with the incense became saturated in the smoke so that when he left the Temple people would notice the aroma. As he leaves the Temple and passes by the people outside, who were praying in anticipation of the coming of the promised Messiah, olfactory organs were stimulated and faith was awakened.
Here is the picture. Zacharias lights the incense in the morning and the evening so it will burn all day and all night. While doing his ministry at the altar, immersed in prayer and the presence of God, an angel appeared to him. The angel announced to Zacharias that his wife, Elizabeth, would bare a son. His prayers for a Messiah were being answered as this son would prepare the people for His arrival.
His son was named John, the baptizer. Appointed to a ministry to bring many in Israel back to God and to turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children, John operated in the spirit of Elijah. His ministry involved calling fathers to become responsible for the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of their offspring. This is a heavy calling. It required a unique lifestyle of being filled with the Spirit and conducting his life in a manner different from his surrounding culture. He would abstain from the trends that distract people from a relationship with God.
Our generation needs John’s kind of ministry. Those who wish to make that kind of difference in this era, with a vibrant and necessary ministry of turning father’s hearts and bringing people back to God, must have a unique smell. Drenched in the fragrance of God’s presence and the aroma of prayer we move into our world inviting people into a restored relationship with God which we were designed to enjoy.
Followers of Jesus Christ can either be an aroma of grace and hope or we can stink up the place. Considering the times, and knowing that Jesus is coming again, we aught to immerse ourselves in the presence of God and prayer and exude that fragrance wherever we go. Be a blessing to someone today!