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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

12102014 Wednesday of Advent 2

Sermon Audio

December 10, 2014
What do you smell?
May the offering of our time to be in the presence of our Lord be a blessing not only for our lives, but also our souls as we prepare our hearts for the celebration of the entrance of the King of Kings!  AMEN.

As a child, I remember going up into my Grandmother’s attic during one of our visits to Northeast Iowa.  Up there she had boxes of trinkets and treasures that were there for the exploration of young children.  One such item that always caught our interest as kids was a trunk.  This was not a small foot locker that we are accustomed to see these days in Wal-Mart, but the old Steamer Trunks.  It was a relic from the old country.  You see my Grandparents came separately to America through Baltimore on ships from the Czech Republic as young children.  Like most who travelled the oceans all their family’s worldly possessions were crammed into a steamer trunk to keep them safe until they arrived in the New World.

When we would open the steamer trunk the first thing that we noticed, wasn’t the clothes, the memorabilia or mementoes, but it was the smell.  It was not the smell that assaults us when we go by a feed lot or dairy farm, but the smell of old clothes and long ago perfumes that wafts through the air.  The kind of smell that is clear nostalgia of a by gone era.

This evening the second gift in our series of the Gifts of the Magi is of Frankincense.  Clearly Frankincense has a smell, not of ‘old clothes’ or ‘steamer trunks’, but a fragrance and aroma that people of the Old Testament knew well.  Frankincense was used in the Temple and prior to that Aaron’s people used it when there was not a place for God’s Glory to dwell.  During the time of the Exodus from Egypt when the people were wandering in the desert Frankincense was used as a fragrant offering to God.  The clear use of Frankincense in the Temple meant it was a priestly aroma, meant for God.

When the Magi presented Frankincense this gift was presented on bended knee for God the Son born in a manger.  By presenting Frankincense to Jesus Christ born in the manger the Magi foretold what Jesus would be doing when He grew older.  We have all heard the story of Jesus staying behind in Jerusalem when older and being found in the Temple with the leaders of the Jewish Synagogue.  They saw great wisdom that came from Jesus, beyond His very years.  And this gift of Frankincense as the fragrant offering, was exactly that what Jesus would be known as for we who gather here this evening.

Jesus is our High Priest.  Jesus goes before the Father for each and every one of us.  Though born in a manger in the lowest of circumstances, Jesus Christ took on His humanity and was humble in His beginnings.  But with the presentation of the Gift of Frankincense was a prophecy of what Jesus would be for we Who gather here tonight.

Frankincense offered in the sacrifice indicated how Jesus would be sacrificed for you and for me on the Cross of Calvary for our sins.  The fragrant offering Jesus Christ made in order that we might live would fulfill the plan of salvation and set us free from the bondage of sin, death and the devil.  We through Jesus perfect sacrifice are offered grace and mercy beyond what we deserve.  And in Jesus sacrifice it is a pleasing aroma for His Father in heaven.  All pointed to with the opening of a simple yet profound gift of Frankincense by the Magi.

May we who gather here this evening as we smell the pleasing aromas of the meals, the cookies, cakes and goodies of the season, remember the pleasing aroma of Frankincense given to Jesus Christ.  For Jesus Christ came in the manger, was given the gift of Frankincense, chose to offer Himself and is the reason for the season.  Jesus Christ is the pleasing aroma of our God Who came as our sacrifice to set all of mankind free, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this Second Wednesday of Advent evening.  AMEN.

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