The Legend of the Poinsettia
Maria and Pablo lived in a tiny village in Mexico. Because Christmastime at their house did not include many gifts, Maria and Pablo looked forward to the Christmas festivities at the village church with great joy and anticipation.
To honour the birth of Christ, the church displayed a beautiful manger that drew crowds of admirers. Villagers walked miles to admire the manger, bringing lovely, expensive gifts for the Baby Jesus. As Maria and Pablo watched the villagers place their gifts in the soft hay around the manger, they felt sad. They had no money to buy gifts for their family and no money to buy a gift for the Baby Jesus.
One Christmas Eve, Maria and Pablo walked to the church for that evening’s services, wishing desperately that they had a gift to bring. Just then, a soft glowing light shone through the darkness, and the shadowy outline of an angel appeared above them.
Maria and Pablo were afraid, but the angel comforted them, instructing them to pick some of the short green weeds that were growing by the road. They should bring the plants to the church, the angel explained, and place them near the manger as their gift to the Baby Jesus. Then just as quickly as she had appeared, the angel was gone, leaving Maria and Pablo on the road looking up into the dark sky. Confused but excited, the children filled their arms with large bunches of the green weeds and hurried to the church.
When the children entered the church, many of the villagers turned to stare. As Maria and Pablo began placing the weeds around the manger, some of the villagers laughed at them. “Why are those children putting weeds by the manger?” they asked each other.
Maria and Pablo began to feel embarrassed and ashamed of their gift to the Baby Jesus, but they stood bravely near the manger, placing the plants on the soft hay, as the angel had instructed.
Suddenly, the dull green leaves on the tops of the plants began to turn a beautiful shade of red, surrounding the Baby with beautiful blooms. The laughing villagers became silent as they watched the green plants transform into the lovely star-shaped crimson flowers we call poinsettias. As they watched the weeds bloom before their eyes, Maria and Pablo knew they had no reason to be ashamed anymore.
They had given the Baby Jesus the only gift they could–and it was the most beautiful gift of all.
Today, poinsettias are a traditional symbol of Christmas, thanks to young Maria and Pablo and their special gifts to the Baby Jesus. — By Stephanie Herbek.
Poinsettias are another of my favourite flowers (I wrote about Lewisia in my recent blog ‘The Promise of Heaven’). I particularly like the way we, in Great Britain love to have them to decorate our homes at Christmastime. It is a joyful time when we remember Jesus; The Saviour of the world came to earth as a newborn baby. I love the way Poinsettias can be nurtured after they have finished blooming and they appear to be dead, but again towards the end of another year, they come to life again, gradually growing shoots, leaves and red or pink coloured bracts or blooms. This reminds me of Jesus living on earth, dying on the cross, being buried for three days and then He rose from the, dead conquering sin and death for each one of us. He ascended into Heaven and lives for evermore. He sends His Holy Spirit to us to remind us that we need Jesus to save us. The Holy Spirit also helps us to lead the Christian life, as we cannot do this on our own. All we have to do is, accept that we need Jesus to be our personal Saviour and Lord of our life, and ask Him into our heart and life. He wants us to ask, because He does not force anyone to believe, He wants us to make the choice willingly.
Poinsettia is native to the tropical areas of Central America and Mexico. They are now grown and enjoyed nearly worldwide wherever Christmas is celebrated.
Poinsettias have a reputation as being hard to maintain, but if you follow the following tips, they should thrive well past Christmas. I found two different, but similar articles on the Web about how to look after Poinsettia plants.
Looking after a poinsettia
Position the plant in good light away from direct sunlight and draughts.
Poinsettias originate from warmer climates than Britain’s, so avoid temperatures below 55F (13C)
Over watering will quickly damage the plant. Wait until the surface of the compost begins to dry out, then water thoroughly.
Place the pot on a pebble tray, as a humid atmosphere will prolong the bract life.
Trying to keep the plant from year to year is usually disappointing as it is difficult to provide optimum growing conditions. However, you can give it a try, as follows:
In March, gradually reduce watering. Prune hard back once the plant drops its leaves and keep fairly dry.
In early May, increase watering. Re-pot when new shoots start to develop.
Once established, feed weekly with a balanced liquid fertiliser.
Feed your poinsettia with a general-purpose houseplant food after the bracts fade if you want to keep the plant for the following year.
Keep feeding through spring and summer, then in late September place your poinsettia where it will get bright light during the day but no extra light at night.
As the days shorten, from October, allow the plants to have 12 hours of light each day. For the remaining 12 hours, they need to be kept in darkness at a minimum temperature of 65F (18C). Artificial light is acceptable to supplement daylight.
After an 8-week period without light at night, your poinsettia should develop bracts and blooms.
With this treatment, the red bracts and tiny yellow flowers should be brightening up the winter gloom from December.
Poinsettias (Poinsettia) are easy to maintain, but it takes some effort to make them bloom a second time. To grow them after the Christmas holidays, all you need to do is treat them similar to other houseplants: Give them bright light, allow them to slightly dry between watering, and feed them with a liquid houseplant fertilizer according to label directions. That’s the easy part. The bracts (those are the leaves that look like flower petals) will eventually fade and fall off the plant. At that point, cut back the stems to just below the flowers and let them continue to grow. Getting the plants to re-bloom is the hard part. In spring, once night time temperatures are consistently above 50F, place your poinsettias outside where they’ll receive bright, indirect light. They will grow but will remain completely green all summer. Prune back the plants by one-half to one-third in midsummer, and re pot them in the same pot, or in one that’s slightly larger if the plant has grown significantly. Use a commercial potting soil. Feed the plants with a standard houseplant fertilizer during this time of new growth. Bring the pots indoors before night time temperatures fall below 50F. From September through to the end of October, the plants need 14-15 hours of uninterrupted darkness daily, and night time temperatures around 65F. This is the secret to triggering new flowers to form and for the bracts to change colour. This means that every day at about 5 p.m. you’ll need to cover the plants. Uncover them between 7 and 8 the following morning. Absolutely no light can penetrate the darkness. If you place a box over them, it must not permit light to enter. If you place plants in an extra bedroom, no light can enter the room beneath the crack of the door or through a window. Even car headlights shining through a window are enough to interrupt the required darkness. Greenhouse growers use thick black cloths to cover their poinsettia crops, blocking out all light from passing cars and nearby shopping centres. If you successfully carry out the darkness routine, by early November your plants will be developing colour, and you can end the daily darkness ritual and set the plants in bright, indirect light. By the end of November, the bracts should be colouring up nicely, and you’ll be able to enjoy them through the next Christmas holiday season.
Poinsettias growing in a Vietnam garden.
I recommend that you watch The Revelation TV Channel on Sky channel number 581 or Freesat channel 692 and Roku Box UK and USA. You can also watch programmes on their website at http://www.revelationtv.com/ They are a Christian channel. They have live, interactive programmes, which are wonderful for people who are lonely, and many programmes that help people learn about the love of God and how to live the Christian life. The presenters and guests make you feel that you are part of the Church family. They have really helpful programmes to help people grow in their Christian life. Their programmes also help you if you are not sure about your faith and want to understand more. They have live interactive programmes too. These are really good if you are lonely, afraid or worried. We all go through times when we need spiritual help. They also have programmes where you can send your prayer requests.
If you feel you need God in your life and you don’t know how to find Him and you feel alone, lost, guilty and frightened, I recommend the website from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association http://www.PeaceWithGod.net