Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Symbolism

You know how some people try to find symbolism and meaning in everything? Well, while I may not do that exactly, I did wonder if the Christmas cactus actually had anything to do with Christmas and if it contained any symbolism in relation to Christ.   I don't want to be one of those people who try really hard to make something fit when it doesn't, but then I realized that if Christ is, indeed, the Creator... and I believe He is... then it stands to reason that His creation will reveal things about and have a connection with Him, right?

Christmas Cactus Blossom

A Christmas cactus is also known as a holiday cactus, because it generally blooms around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.   It's scientific name is zygocactus, which is Greek meaning 'joined or yoked cactus', because of its segmented 'leaves'.  Whenever I think of words having a Greek name or origin, I always think of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  Anyway, if you're familiar with the teachings of Jesus, you might have been reminded of His invitation found in Matthew 11:28-30:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Who couldn't use a little rest, huh?

A Christmas cactus is an epiphyte, another Greek word meaning 'upon plant', because if a segment is broken off, it can grow on another plant, but is not parasitic.   Rather, it is a type of symbiotic relationship called commensalism in which one organism benefits while the other neither benefits, nor is harmed. Jesus invites us to abide in Him in a relationship that promises blessings.

While the Christmas cactus can be propagated through seeds, it is generally propagated using one or more of its segments.  If you know anything about Christianity, you know that it is propagated by spreading the 'seed' of the Good News, also known as the Gospel, but it is most effectively propagated through personal contact and discipleship.   It is only when we are willing to give of ourselves and love one another, as Christ commands, that others can know and come to understand the love of Christ.

So... how's that for symbolism? Do you think it's a stretch? Or could it be a small part of God's revelation to man through His creation?


  1. Sweets,
    I don't think it's a stretch at all. I believe that everything in God's creation "showeth forth His handiwork"... and that the Christmas cactus can certainly be an example of what the Christian life should be.
    You are such an observant, appreciative person!
    Thanks for sharing this.
    luv ya, George

  2. Exactly! It 'showeth forth His handiwork". Thank you, George!