My sister, Patti's "Christ in the Manger" in full bloom.
This one is mine. It took days for it to open fully. It is called a night-blooming cereus cactus. Our grandmother gave it to our mother over fifty years ago. We all took cuttings from it. What a story behind this scraggly, brown in spots looking plant! When the weather begins to cool, from the side of the plant a little bud forms. At first, it is hard to tell if it will be another leaf forming or the bud of the most beautiful flower in the world.
Our mother told us it was the story of Christ's birth. Look deep into this mysterious flower.
God writes His story in Nature!
The cereus catus, with it long slender, scraggly leaves is not an exceptionally pretty plant. Neither was Jesus. "For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground, and He hath no form or comeliness, and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him (Isaiah 53:2)."
This plant can take years to produce its first bloom. The Messiah was promised to Adam and Eve. "But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law (Galatians 4:4)."
The bloom only opens late in the night, usually after midnight. "The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light, they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death upon them hath the light shined (Isaiah 9:2)."
When the bloom begins to open, the most wonderful fragrance spreads out to fill the night air. "...Christ also hath loved us, and given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor (Ephesians 5:1)."
Watch the progression of the bloom.
She has adorned herself in white velvety softness as she cradles the newborn babe. Slowly, she pulls the soft folds of the swaddling clothes back for all the world to see the star, the cradle, the little one's face. But, O, the fragrance of His presence fills the night sky and draws shepherds and the hearts of those who have longed for this beautiful bloom. "And she brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger...(Luke 2:7)."
"Now, lettest Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation...(Luke 2:29)."