The Smell of Hope

“It smells like Christmas!” A few weeks ago, we were hiking in the Tetons on vacation, and all of us noticed and commented on the scent of the pine forest wherever we hiked. It smells fresh and makes you want to keep taking deep breaths. And my sons kept saying how much it smelled like Christmas. 

Today on The Next Right Thing podcast, Emily P. Freeman talked about the five senses and left her listeners with the question, “What is the smell of hope?” For me, it is the scent of pine. It makes me want to take a deep breath and reminds me of Christmas.

When we were little, Christmas was the best day of the year. Our house was filled with lots of love and not lots of extra money. On Christmas morning, there was hope for my sister and me of getting that new sweater we wanted. (My mom made a big deal about Christmas, and we LOVED it – for more than just the hope of presents.) Putting up the tree brought the scent of hope into the house.

Today when I think about hope, I’m reminded of the first question in a 450-year-old confession of faith that I learned throughout my life:

Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?

A. That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.

What better hope is there? That I’m not my own. That I’m part of a bigger story, and he is working out the restoration of all things.  That I get to be part of restoring what is broken. Every summer hike through a pine forest, and every Christmas morning, we get to remember why he came.

What is making you feel hopeful?

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