Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O Little Town Of Bethlehem"1 (Lyrics)
How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
Job 6:6 – Can something tasteless be eaten without salt? Or is there any taste in the white of an egg? (NASB)
Every evening before eating supper, my husband prepares the coffee for the next morning. He dumps out the old coffee, rinses the pot, fills it with fresh water, and pours it into the water reservoir. He puts in the filter and carefully measures out enough ground coffee to make the precise amount of coffee for both of us. This endearing habit has been carved out over many years of marriage. Experience has taught us that neither of us does well making coffee upon waking up, but I am definitely the one most likely to end up with water or coffee — or both! — all over the counter! So preparing pays off. I really miss my hubby when he travels away for work.
My dad also used to prepare the next morning's coffee for him and mom each evening too. Only back then, we didn't use a brew machine but a coffee percolator. I remember that he used to add broken eggshells to the coffee that we ground at the store, and then a pinch of salt. I never did understand why he added that salt, until I came across an article on Facebook the other day.
Apparently salt binds to the portions of taste buds that detect bitter flavours and prevents them from properly bonding. Effectively, salt acts as a bitterness reducer, making the coffee more palatable and mellow, thereby enhancing flavour. One of my friends used to put salt on fruit, too. She said that it took the bitterness away and made the fruit sweeter. She was right. Salt is necessary and life-giving, and some things are just much sweeter with salt. Yet, too much salt isn't good for us. What a conundrum!
As I thought about this, it occurred to me that Christ acts like salt. He came to bind to us to reduce the bitterness of our sins, our burdens, and our weariness, in order to transform our lives and our world into something sweeter, richer, and more full of flavour, living in God's way. The sweetness of Christ is the best blessing for our world — one that our bitter, lost world needs most!
Matthew 5:13a – You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything. (NASB)
You are the salt of the earth. Wow! What a charge! As Christians, we are to be that blessing, that sweetness to the world, too! I don't know about you, but sometimes, when Christmas comes around, I feel like I've lost all my saltiness. But can our salt be made salty again? Perhaps only by going back to where it all begins for each and every one of us who believe, back on a pilgrimage that starts at the manger in Bethlehem with the birth of a sweet baby Jesus. Perhaps only by preparing our hearts to receive the Christ Child and letting Him bind to us. Perhaps only as we open ourselves to the hymns, carols, and messages of peace, hope, joy, and love of the season. Perhaps only as we open our hearts to bless others as Jesus blesses us.
- O Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in;
Be born in us today!
– Phillips Brooks