“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.” – Ephesians 1:7-8 NASB
As U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, John Poinsett could not help expressing his opinions on many subjects. As author Ace Collins describes, Poinsett “was constantly stirring up trouble.”
Then, on Christmas Eve, 1824, Poinsett attended a service at a small church in Mexico and was impressed by the exotic red flowers. He learned that the plants had been used by ancient Aztecs who felt the plants were sacred with their rich, red colors reminiscent of people who had given their lives.
Poinsett shipped some seeds back to his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. Meanwhile, he continued to anger Mexican leaders. A price was put on his head, forcing him to return to the U.S. On Christmas Day 1825, he reported to President John Quincy Adams where he was relieved of his position and sent home to Charleston.
Poinsett continued to cultivate the seeds he obtained in Mexico, growing new plants in his own greenhouse. When he presented them to Charleston churches as Christmas gifts, the plants made an immediate impact with their exotic beauty. They soon became associated with Christmas celebrations throughout the U.S., and the plant was named “poinsettias,” in honor of John Poinsett.
As one of the many symbols associated with Christmas, poinsettias have today become ubiquitous during the season. While we can focus our attention on their natural beauty, we also should allow them to remind us that Jesus died for each one of us.
As a Christian symbol, the red represents the blood that was shed on the cross while the green stands for the promise of eternal life offered to us through that sacrifice. During this season, remember all that Jesus has done for you. He is worthy of praise!