Keep your poinsettia
Declutters are just waiting to pitch their poinsettia, if they haven’t already done so. Now that we are firmly into the New Year, this plant has got to go.
Plant lovers, on the other hand, still marvel at the gift of the poinsettia. They’ve established a watering schedule for what is undoubtedly a keepsake. As we move further into January, these green thumb people will find just the right spot for their new addition on or near a window sill. “Hallelujah,” they may say through their hearts. “Another gift to care for.”
Taking “Christmas” down and boxing it away for another year can be tricky, perhaps even sad. When my kids and I were riding through Montrose on the way to the Recycling Center on New Years Eve, we were delighted by the many homes that displayed Christmas lights. It was our first ride through town in the dark, and the lights on the lawns, the landscapes, through the windows, and across the porches and/or the roofs was a delight to see. We smiled. We found the lights beautiful and meaningful.
Most of the lights won’t stay lit for much longer, but that poinsettia? I’m going to suggest you should keep this Christmas showpiece around all year, and I’m going to argue this theologically.
First, Christmas isn’t a one and done. The arrival of God on earth as a newborn baby remains spectacular, amazing, incredible, and even incomprehensible. Even though the prophet Isaiah shares in his prophetic work in scripture that God is coming to earth as a breathing, talking, walking Messiah—it’s still a tremendous thought to realize that God—God!—came to earth not for a moment but for a connection out of His love for us. Keeping the poinsettia is a reminder of this.
We can’t just shut that down or pack Emmanuel away with the stockings, the Santa cookie jar and the elf-on-a-shelf. No, the Son of God coming to this planet for all of us on the planet who seek to know Him remains a lifetime wonder and joy.
Second, we do not know exactly when this birth event took place. We place Jesus’ birth on the 25th of December, but nowhere in scripture does it give us Jesus’ exact birth date. Yes, we choose a day to celebrate God coming to be with us in Jesus Christ. The only One on earth to be without sin being here with us isn’t just a once-a-year nod, however. Since Jesus brings salvation to all who know Him, this gift from God is an appreciation—it is a triumph—that happens each and every day of our lives. Keeping the poinsettia is a reminder of this.
Third, the poinsettia changes throughout the year. It grows. Those bold, colorful leaves become secondary to new leaves that elongate in a fresh, soft green. To me, this new growth speaks to our growth as Christians. We take on new life as we mature in faith. New leaves become a beautiful reminder that life in Christ keeps happening for us.
I get it. Some of us aren’t the best indoor gardeners. But know this. Even the best gardeners have experienced the death of a plant under their care. Keeping a poinsettia is less about our ability to care as it is an opportunity to see the year unfold. It’s about noting change. It’s about celebrating life as it continues.
I am a plant person. This being said, I have never come close to making my poinsettias turn from their full green selves in July to the bold leaf colors seen in December. Experts say we are to keep them in complete shade for a certain amount of time each day during the autumn months. They are to remain in natural light only when exposed to light.
And there is something about cutting them back and fertilizing.
Complicated! At least for me!
But I was delighted one year when the poinsettia I had kept since December actually had leaves turn red around Christmastime the following year. I didn’t cut the plant back, fertilize it in any notable way, or keep it from light for a set number of hours. It just happened. The color wasn’t a deep red. The leaves were smaller, but yes, they were red!
It was just a gift! Such a thrill!
Ooh. Now you know that I’m not just a plant person. I’m a plant geek.
Maybe your 2021 poinsettia is already out of the house. Maybe you are not going to keep the one you have, or the one who have will die from neglect. Got it.
But get this. The birth of our Savior remains a gift each day, whether you keep a poinsettia or not. Celebrate this. Take care of this in the best way you know possible.