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On the compound where our missionary lives in Nigeria there is a tall and stately tree called the “Queen of the Night.” It’s a name well-deserved. Once the sun has set and the countryside is enshrouded in night, the large flowers on the tree release their fragrance. The lovely aroma is refreshing in the midst of the dark African night.

The dark night of sin has set in upon this world. It began with our ancient parents thinking they knew better than their Creator. Since then from sire to son the bane descends and over all the curse impends. Yet in the midst of the benighted world there is that enlivening fragrance. It is not of this creation as the “Queen” produces. It is not the odors of Edom brought by worshipers to Him. It is what He became and brought to the Father for us. ” . . . Christ loved us and gave himself up for us a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:2).

The blessed Child who came on that dark night so long ago was none other than the mighty God come to ransom our race. He came for us who since Eden have gone to rack and ruin. He came for us who so feebly stumble around in iniquity’s shadow. While the fragrance of the “Queen” may be refreshing, the King’s fragrance of salvation is exhilarating. Like the shepherds we abandon the darkness to come and peer into the manger.

The Aroma Of Salvation

There we see Him who reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of His nature. Though His arms are tiny and seemingly ineffectual, yet this is the One who upholds the universe by His Word of power. This is the One who would make purification for sins and sit down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Heb. 1:3).

After long years of service on this dismal orb, He would give the ultimate. From that tree He would send forth not the putrifying stench of death, but the life-giving aroma of salvation. “Father, forgive them . . . It is finished . . . .” While it would seem that the darkness had engulfed Him, that would not be the case. The fact of the matter is that the enliving aroma of His salvation is wafted on ocean breeze to distant isle and massive continent. It is carried by the ministering zephyr to valley and plain and mountain.

Concluding their adoration the shepherds wre inspirited in Him who is the sweet savour of God unto salvation. They went jubilantly back out into the dark night. “Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen. . .” (Lk. 2:20).

Let us this Christmas imbibe that which yields lasting cheer and impart it as the shepherds did. “And when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child” (Lk. 2:17). May we, on this festival and continually, say: “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (2 Cor. 2:14).

— Pastor David Koenig