In my recent travels, I was blessed to visit Oman, a beautiful country along the Persian Gulf. One of my favorite memories was visiting a family’s home in a small village and being blessed the Omani way, which included a smoldering pot of frankincense infusing me with an amazing scent.
Here’s that memory: The hostess lifted my long flowing skirt and placed the burning pot of frankincense underneath. Luckily for me, I watched her do the same to my friend first, so I knew what to expect. The dancing ribbons of smoke from the resin disappeared under my clothing.
At first I was a little taken aback. I had never seen or experienced this before. Furthermore, my clothing was made of polyester. I envisioned it going up in flames and having to do “stop, drop, and roll” maneuvers right there on their beautiful Persian rug.
It wasn’t long and I smelled of frankincense. It was sweet like honey and had the freshness of a lemon, along with subtle undertones of a pine woody scent. It’s delightful, really. How I wanted to bottle up this scent to take home with me.
We had officially been welcomed and perfumed the Omani way. I smelled like the Omani customs agent who had welcomed me into his country, and like the lady who passed me in the mall wearing the traditional gown. But sadly, this fresh and earthy scent only clung to my clothing for a day.
After being served cardamom flavored coffee, the traditional Arabic coffee, and fresh dates from their tree, it was time to leave. The hostess sent me home with a gift of frankincense. It was her way to bless me once again.
Just over 2000 years ago, a sweet little babe in Bethlehem received gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I can now imagine the gift of frankincense smoldering in a pot, not wrapped in a box tied with a beautiful bow. I picture its curly incense climbing up over the manger and toward the heavens above, perfuming and purifying the entire room.
Frankincense resin will make any curious traveler stop and linger for a bit, and so will the presence of Jesus. This Savior of the world is a sweet savor to us, and, as the Scripture goes, we reciprocate by being the “fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (II Corinthians 2:15). It’s quite a calling.
May you be surrounded by His peace and presence this holiday season, and may you in turn be the savor of Christ, a gift your family and friends just might need.
(From: A Sweet Christmas Savor by Paula Nilsen – PURE Newsletter – UPCI Ladies Ministries)