Day 8: What IS Christmas Really About?

Isaiah 61:3
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

As I am beginning to run out of things to check out for their meaning and relation to Christmas, I stumbled upon the Poinsettia plant.  How beautiful the red and green together.  The story I found behind it is also very charming:

Also known as the Christmas Star and Christmas Flower, it’s said that this winter flower’s association with Christmas comes from a Mexican legend. The story goes that a child, with no means for a grander gift, gathered humble weeds from the side of the road to place at the church alter on Christmas Eve. As the congregation witnessed a Christmas miracle, the weeds turned into brilliant red and green flowers.

Named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, first United States ambassador to Mexico and the amateur botanist who introduced the plant to the U.S. in 1825, the poinsettia is also known as Mexican Flame Leaf, Winter Rose, Noche Buena and, in Turkey, Atakurk’s Flower, because it was the favorite flower of Atakurk, the founder of modern Turkey.

While considered by the ancient Aztecs to be symbols of purity, in today’s language of flowers, red, white or pink poinsettias, the December birth flower, symbolize good cheer and success and are said to bring wishes of mirth and celebration.

The reason behind my picking an Old Testament verse is because as I read this story I was thinking about how God takes something that is often not the prettiest or most desirable and turns it into something beautiful.  As those simple weeds have turned into a wonderful addition to our Christmas decor, so have the multitudes of people God has welcomed into His Kingdom.  By sending His son Jesus to take upon flesh, people were now given the opportunity to accept Him as their Lord and Savior so the great transformations could begin.  Without Jesus, there would be no reason for our hearts to be changed and turned toward heavenly ways.

As I gaze upon the Poinsettia and wonder why it could possibly have been mistaken for a weed, I compare this to our Christian walk and wonder how many are left behind because we as people think they are just “weeds”.  How sad that we did not pick them up and take them to the altar for Jesus to heal.  How many have we just pushed aside or thought someone else can take care of them, it’s not what we were designed for.  We are able because through Christ we have the strength to do all things, so why are we not quick to help the less fortunate, the hurting, the ones shunned by society?

Once again, lots to think about as far as Christmas is concerned, I am glad however that spending a few moments to reflect on a simple symbol of Christmas has caused me to rekindle my compassion for others.  Why not reach out to someone who you thought in your mind that you just could not possibly help?  What if each of just did one act of bringing Jesus into someones life this Christmas season?  What an impact we could make and maybe, just maybe bring Christmas back to reality for someone who has lost the spirit because of being pushed away by society.  Will you join me in this act of reaching out to someone this Christmas?  Maybe it’s a neighbor no one visits or an elderly person in a nursing home.  Perhaps a shut-in from your church.  A teenager who seems separate from the rest.  Maybe you know of a homeless person who just needs a hot meal.  What ever it is, let God lead you to it.  I pray that we each have a Christmas Spirit experience between now and Christmas that would just make baby Jesus smile.

 

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