"Messiah" as most educators and pastors know, means "Anointed One." In the Latin it was translated Savior. In Greek it's the Christ.
Anointing oil was pure sweet smelling oil. It was perfume, nard, myrrh and all those types of oil we read about. No one knows the exact recipe for anointing oil, but there was one important feature about it --it made you smell good.
The Messiah is the one who smells pleasing to God.
"This is my son, in whom I am well pleased."
Oil was a method by which men and women in biblical times kept themselves clean, or at least smelling good. A bad smell was considered a sign of trouble or sin, just like our language today has the same meaning. "It stinks to high heaven." "There's something fishy."
Good smells were used in Temple worship not only in the burning of incense, but the fragrance of the show bread --it contained frankincense. The smells were to rise to God. There are many Old Testament passages where God accepts "sweet smelling offerings."
In Leviticus, God complains to the Hebrews saying "I will not smell your pleasing odors." The Hebrew word "Mashach" -root word underlying "Messiah" means to ritually rub with oil. In this sense, Jesus is "the one who smells pleasing to God." He is the "acceptable sacrifice" or "Saving One" or "Saving Smell." The older kids might get a kick out of how many phrases they could derive from this concept.
I think there is a wonderful opportunity in our workshops to LOCK HOME the SMELL of the meaning of MESSIAH by using THE NOSE in all our lessons.
Smell games, incense, the use of good smelling foods. Cinnammon oil, cinnamon cider,etc.
How about a Jesus cut-out that smells good? Or publicity that asks "Was it his aftershave? Come find out why Jesus smells so good."
Isn't it interesting that Advent is a season of great smells: pine, fireplace, turkey, fresh snow.
It's a time when we remember the best smell in the world, that of a newborn baby come to save us.