Maria was a young girl who lived on a poor family farm in a small village of Mexico. It was the custom of the village to glorify the Christmas sseason with special events to celebrate the birthday of the Christ Child , Jesus. Every one helped in the preparations for the celebration.. Children even helped to make gifts for the Christ Child.
Maria wanted to make a special gift. She had helped her mother weave so she went to the loom to make the Christst child a specail blanket. She was not very experienced and the yarns beca,me a tangled mess. Maria was broken hearted.
Christmas Eve came and the villagers gathered around the chuch for the birthday celebration.
All except for Maria, who hid in the shadows, watching with tears in her eyes as the procession to the church Nativity started.
"I don’t have a gift for the Baby Jesus," she sniffled softly. "I tried and tried to make something beautiful, but instead I ruined it."
Suddenly, Maria heard a voice. She looked up and saw only a bright star in the sky; it seemed to hover and shine over the village church. Was it this star that spoke to her?
"Maria," she heard the voice again, "The baby Jesus will love whatever you give because it comes from your heart. Love is what makes any gift special."
With that, Maria stepped out from the shadows. Nearby she noticed some tall green weeds. She rushed over and quickly filled her arms with the weeds, covering them with her manto. Then she ran swiftly to the church.
By the time she arrived, the candles were ablaze and the children were singing as they walked down the aisle carrying their gifts to the Christ Child.
Padre Francesco placed the figure of the baby Jesus in the manger, with the children’s gifts all around it.
Sudenly Maria realized that everyone was wearing such beautiful clothing and she was so poorly dressed . She became very scared and tried to hide behind a giant pillar . but she was too slow. Padre Francesco saw her.
Maria , hurry bring your gift.
Maria was terrified and wondered if she should run away or go forward.
The Padre saw her apprehension and coaxed her more gently, "Maria, come up here and see the Baby Jesus. There is space left for one more gift."
Before thinking Maria quicly walked forward. Padre Francesco stepped down from the altar and walked with Maria to the Christmas crèche. Maria bowed her head and said a prayer then opened her manto and let the weeds tumble out.
Voices gasped, "Look! Look at those glorious flowers!"
Maria's love had turned the weeds to beautiful red flowers.
Today the most loved of the Christmas Flowers are the poinsettia. There are over 70 million poinsettia plants sold over the Christmas Season. Poinsettias make up a total of 1/3 of the flowering plants sold in America. That is an amazing statistic considering most are sold in just one 6 week period of the year.
Dr. Joel Roberts-Poinsett, the US Ambassador to Mexico from 1825 to 1829, is credited with bringing the first Poinsettia to the United States.
Did you know that Decemer 12th is National Poinsettia Day? It has been celebrated since the mid 1800's and is in honor of Dr. Poinsettia who passed away on December 12th 1851.
Big Springs , Texas is known as the Lighted Poinsettia Capital. Comanche Trail Festival first began, the dam at the big spring had 4 huge poinsettias made of construction rebar welded together in the shape of a poinsettia flower each having 5 leaves. The leaves were decorated in red lights.The flowers were an incredible site to anyone entering Big Springs from the north. Over the years aditional flowers were added until there were a total of 11 flowers on the dam and countless more throughout Comanche Trail Park, thus making it the Christmas Poinsettia Capital.
I hope that you have enjoyed this tradition of Christmas.