Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Legend of the Poinsettia

What is your favorite Christmas decoration?  I just love poinsettias.  Do you?  Have you ever heard the Legend of the Poinsettia?  I'll sum it up for you, but I really recommend an artfully crafted retelling of this story by Tomie dePaola.  You can read my summary or you can click on the link and hear the story.  I know what I'd do.  I'd listen to the story.

Lucida is a little girl living in Mexico.  We all have Christmas traditions.  In Lucida's village on Christmas Eve, everyone in the church brought a gift to lay at the figure of baby Jesus.  Lucida's mother had the honor of making a new blanket for the figure.  Unfortunately, she became ill and couldn't complete the project.  Lucida tried to finish the blanket on her own, but all she accomplished was making the yarn tangled.  Lucida had nothing to give the baby Jesus.  On her way to the church service, she encounters a mysterious woman.  The mystery lady assures Lucida that her mother will soon recover.  At her encouragement, Lucida picks some common weeds to take to the church and lay at the figure of baby Jesus.  When Lucida lays the weeds at the manger and prays to God, an amazing transformation takes place.  The weeds turn into beautiful Poinsettia flowers.

Now I'm sure you're wondering why I love this Christmas symbol so much.  I'm not Hispanic.  This isn't my cultural heritage.  I find this story full of symbolism.  I can relate to little Lucida.  At Christmas we celebrate the ultimate Giver.  God gave Jesus to the world to live a human life.  Jesus gave up His life to die on the cross as a payment for our sins.  The Holy Spirit gives us God's presence.  We are the recipients of these lavish gifts.  Because I am created in the image of the Giver, I want to give also.  I want to give something of value to this little baby lying in a manger.  Like Lucida, I find I have nothing to give.  I come before Jesus and offer up the only thing of value that I truly possess.  I offer Him my life: my time, my energy, my choices, my praise, and my material possessions.  Just like Lucida, I worry that my gift will not be good enough.  Surely I have made a tangled mess of things in the past.  Good news!  No tangled mess is beyond His redeeming touch.  Our lives might be like the weeds that Lucida picked: common and ordinary.  But in God's presence, they can be transformed into a beautiful work of art.

2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT "So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.  and the Lord--who is the Spirit--makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image."


  1. This is wonderful! And a perfect verse to represent that symbolism.

  2. I love this symbolism, too. I have to admit that when I'm finally on my knees giving something to the Lord, it seems like nothing but a bouquet of weeds. I'm glad scripture is there to show me that God sees beyond my weeds.