The Poinsettia, a Christmas Star

As the city nights unfold from warm evenings to the holiday breeze, the world slowly prepares for Christmas as early as November. The manifestations of Christmas begin with the insertion of random Christmas carols in commercial establishments or a delivery of Christmas trees that decorates the front entrance of malls. Other than the carols and trees, it is the lights from the many houses that slowly populate the cityscape and captivate the evening.

It is tradition that families come and decorate their homes with trimmings and flowers. But these are no ordinary flora – it is a special Christmas flower, the Poinsettia (Euphorbia Pulcherrima), as it is best known around the world, that echoes to the household that Christmas is just around the corner. Though stereotyped as another tradition, the Poinsettia has its roots in Mexican legend. Based on its roots, it was brought over to the West by a Mexican Ambassador Joel Roberts Poinsetta. But from tradition, the Poinsettia was said to be a bloom most beautiful coming directly from the heavenly skies.

The traditional tale is passed down in history with a poor farm girl wanting to offer the very best gift to the Savior during Christmas day. Her plea was heard by the angels above and they instructed her to gather weeds and align the Church walkway with these. According to legend, after the little girl delivered this task the angels miraculously converted the weeds into a crimson red bloom. And thus was born the Poinsettia, a Christmas flower.

Regardless of what it is called around the world, the Poinsettia – known also as the Noche Buena, the Winter Rose, the Christmas Star, the Flame Leaf, the Stelle di Natalle finds itself inside the homes of families around the world as a symbol of Jesus Christ’s love for believers in the Christian Faith. The Christmas Flower is usually hung outside homes on the front doors to greet passersby or made to hang on the Christmas tree indoors to bring it to full bloom.

Regardless of its many symbolisms, the Poinsettia points to the nativity of Jesus Christ, symbolic of the brightest star that led the wise men and shepherds to that little manger in Bethlehem. The Poinsettia is beautiful. It is a most wonderful centerpiece that decorates the dinner table when family and friends gather to celebrate the season of love. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

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