Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Christmas Rose

We live in a region that allows many late blooms in sheltered areas.  On the south side of our house is one of those locations.  It is here that we have a few hold on buds that never quite opened and seem a bit freeze dried and will stay on the bush for a while.    The two pictured are the red miniature Sorcerer and the pink/lavender mini Vinyard Song.

There are two traditions regarding the Christmas Rose.  One comes from a legend regarding a story of the little sister of the shepherds who left their flocks following the direction of the angels to the infant child Jesus.  Madelon, as the little sister was called, not wishing to be left behind, had followed her brothers to the lowly manger. There, concealed by the shadows, she watched the wonderful baby and loved him dearly. Yet her heart was heavy for she had no gift by which to express her love for him.

She was crying softly in the darkness; when one of the angels saw her. Suddenly Madelon found a small cluster of roses at her feet where her tears had fallen, which were white with pink edging.  She quickly gathered a handful of them and falling on her knees before the Christ child, presented her gift as a token of her love.

The second is more theological and speaks of Christ himself as the rose.  This is the view that I most identified with and is exemplified most clearly in the the 15th Century German hymn Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming.

     Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
     Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as those of old have sung.
     It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
     When half spent was the night.

     Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
     With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
     To show God’s love aright, she bore to us a Savior,
     When half spent was the night.

     This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
     Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
     True Man, yet very God, from sin and death now saves us,
      And share our every load.

I pray that you know more fully the love God hold for you this Christmas season and that it truely be a holy-day for you. 


  1. The Rose is the official Herb of the Year for 2012, as designated by the International Herb Association. Lots of fun stuff happening this year, using roses as culinary herbs. Hope you'll consider tasting some of your most fragrant roses this spring.