She came as a cutting from my sister. Just a pencil thin, three or four foot long green thing that may have had one leaf on the end. Not knowing anything about this…this thing, I stuck it in a pot that happened to have dirt in it. I had probably killed the pot’s last resident. This green stick would probably die too.
But she didn’t! She began to grow other green sticks, that felt oddly like skin covering a strong muscle. I watched her grow, until one day I saw it – a blossom! Wow! Not only did she live, but she was going to bloom! Each day I would check on the small flower. Each day it was a bit bigger, and fuller. One day, I noticed she was opening up, ever so slightly.
“Tomorrow will be the day! Tomorrow I will see what the flower will look like!” I couldn’t wait! The anticipation was killing me. This plant with her flower was slow going, and teaching me patience!
The next day I went out, and the flower was limp and drooping. She was spent.
Well, doggone it! I waited and waited, then missed the flower in all its glory!
I searched the plant app on my phone and found out this was a Queen of the Night cactus. She has brilliant blooms, but only at night.
The plant’s nickname? Christ in the Manger. That caused me to ponder on what Jesus and the flower have in common.
The world waited in great anticipation of His birth. The shepherds knew Messiah was born, because they watched the night sky and saw His star. God knew from the beginning of time when and where Jesus would be born, but all of us on earth had to wait, and wait. And still we wait for Him to come again.
I waited and waited in anticipation of the flower’s bloom.
The tiny bud of this flower forms and grows, much like the boy Jesus did. He even taught in the temple when He was twelve!1
Jesus has a short three year ministry here on earth. At what point would you say He bursts forth in full bloom, in all His glory?
At His birth?
At the miracles He performed?
At His death? Oh, no way, it was at His resurrection!
Or was it?
Perhaps it may have been when He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.2
Three times in the garden, Jesus prayed to His Father God:
“Please take this cup of suffering from Me.”
I believe Jesus really blossomed after asking the third time. There was a slight change in His attitude. The two previous prayers, He had said “Not my will, but Yours.” However, the third time He prayed, Jesus actually surrendered to God’s will for Him.
“Get up, let’s go!”3
In other words, “Time’s a-wastin’, I must be about my Father’s business.”
In a dark corner in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus bloomed. No one saw, there was no fanfare. Just quiet, resolute surrender to God’s will for Him.
It was a subtle shift. The two disciples with Him probably missed it, because they were sleeping. Just like I missed my flower bloom.
My flower burst forth for one night in all its glory.
Jesus burst forth in surrender to God’s will, and for God’s glory.
We can bloom, too, when we surrender our will to the Father’s.
PS – the next time I saw a bloom, I stayed awake to take pictures…
1 Luke 2:41-52
2 Matthew 26:36-46
3 Matthew 26:46