Wednesday, December 8 2021 - 9:11 PM
Christmas cactus plant
Photo by Dreamstime

Christmas Cactus People

My mother always owned a Christmas cactus. It was often tucked away in a cool spare bedroom during the fall, thus nurtured for blooming. So four or five years ago, in a moment of reminiscence, I purchased a plant. Several years later, I looked at my Christmas cactus plant during October or November and thought I should throw it away. It looked pale, puny, and worthless. My indecision saved this plant because the week before Christmas, I noticed some blossom buds ready to open. Bless this poor little plant; it bloomed beautifully for Christmas.

I had not changed the cactus’ crowded pot, nor even remembered to fertilize it. I often gave it some water weekly but that was the extent of its care. Yet, it was faithful to its nature and bloomed with abundance for about 10 days.

I still have the same plant residing in its original container, hanging from my back porch. And it’s getting ready to bloom again. I have learned not to judge its value by the way it looks for most of the year. I’ve even pulled limp, dead sections off of the plant and wondered if this is the year it will succumb to disease or lack of care.

My Christmas cactus reminds me of how I sometimes judge people. They don’t look like much, or they don’t seem fruitful for most of the year. I don’t expect much, or I am ready to dismiss them. There are Scripture references to what God can or will do about fruitlessness (Matthew 21:19, John 15:2). And Jesus cautioned that we can tell a lot about people by their fruit, Matthew 7:20. Yet He also told the parable about the different kinds of receptive soil in Matthew 13. He did not tell us how long to wait for good fruit/blossoms.

I am prone to impatience with myself and others. I know that God has been incredibly patient with my lapses of faith and bits of growth. The blossoming season may be when the days are short and sunshine is limited for some of us. Then, like a Christmas cactus, the blossoms appear in abundance.

Don’t throw out your cactus people just yet.*

*(Please note that some relationships require a change in boundaries for safety or health.)

Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:

1. Who have you “given up” on? Is it time to re-evaluate that decision?

If you liked this, you might also like Bloom Where You Are

Karen Spruill writes from Florida.

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About Karen Spruill

Karen Spruill

writes from Orlando, Florida.

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