One of the decorative plants for the Christmas season is the Poinsettia. There is a legend behind the popularity of this plant. Once a poor young Mexican girl called Pepita was heartbroken at not having the money to buy baby Jesus a present at the Christmas Eve service. She was so disturbed and sad thinking of the situation that she was in. As usual the church displayed a beautiful manger for the crowd that year which drew a lot of admirers. Pepita and her cousin Pablo could see the villagers walk miles to admire the manger, bringing lovely, expensive gifts for the Baby Jesus. As Pepita 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.
That evening they went for the church service, as they walked to the church, her cousin Pablo noticed how depressed Pepita was and he tried to cheer her up. He said, “Pepita, I’m sure that even the smallest gift, given by someone who loves Jesus will make Him happy.” However the botheration haunted her as she walked towards the church. When we hear this story, may be we are also expecting to see miracles happen in our lives. So Let us place what we have during this Christmas at the manger of Baby Jesus and expect miracles to happen. Look at even a lowly weed was elevated to such a high status. God can turn everything the way He wants. So as we go through this season of Advent, let us find time to be still and to be quiet, and give what we have wholeheartedly so that we can be prepared for the unexpected pleasant surprises that Jesus wants to give us, like how the poinsettia leaves turn from green to red. He will change sadness into joy, the profane into the profound, and the secular into the sacred. Therefore, desire and preparation are necessary for something extraordinary to happen in our lives like that of Pepita because we don’t know what the next moment is going to bring into our lives. Seeing her in tears, an angel appears to Pepita and Pablo and tells them to gather a bundle of the weeds growing nearby. Then the angel told them that the weeds they place before the manger will miraculously turn into glorious red blooms. So they picked a small handful of weeds from the roadside and made them into a small bouquet. They felt embarrassed because they could only give this small present to Jesus. As they walked through the church to the altar, many of the villagers turned to stare at them but Pepita remembered what the angel and Pablo had said. She began to feel better, and knelt down and put the bouquet at the bottom of the Nativity scene, some of the villagers laughed at them and told among themselves “Why are those children putting weeds by the manger?” Pepita and Pablo began to feel ashamed of their gift to Baby Jesus, but they stood bravely near the manger, placing the weeds on the soft hay, as the angel had instructed. Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into bright red colors, and everyone who saw them were sure they had seen a miracle. They stopped talking about them and laughing at them which led to the pin drop silence there. From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the ‘Flowers of the Holy Night’. The shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes seen as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus. The red colored leaves symbolize the blood of Christ. The white leaves represent His purity.