A charming story is told of Pepita, a poor Mexican girl
who had no gift to present the Christ Child at Christmas
Eve Services. As Pepita walked slowly to the chapel with
her cousin Pedro, her heart was filled with sadness rather
than joy. "I am sure, Pepita, that even the most humble gift,
if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes,"
said Pedro consolingly.
Not knowing what else to do, Pepita knelt by the roadside
and gathered a handful of common weeds, fashioning them
into a small bouquet. Looking at the scraggly bunch of weeds,
she felt more saddened and embarrassed than ever by the
humbleness of her offering. She fought back a tear as she
entered the small village chapel.
As she approached the alter, she remembered Pedro's kind
words: "Even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be
acceptable in His eyes." She felt her spirit lift as she knelt
to lay the bouquet at the foot of the nativity scene.
Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into blooms of
and all who saw them were certain that they had witnessed
a Christmas miracle right before their eyes.
From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the
"Flores de Noche Buena", or "Flowers of the Holy Night",
for they bloomed each year during the Christmas season.
Today, the common name for this plant is the poinsettia!
Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsettia was the American ambassador to
Mexico from 1825 to 1829. His keen interest in botany made
him very interested in the "Flower of the Holy Night" and he
brought it back to his home in South Carolina. It became
very popular as a Christmas plant and was named after him.
It was the custom in a certain town in Mexico to take gifts
to the church on Christmas Eve and offer them to the Christ
Child. On this particular night, there was a little boy
standing outside the church door. He wanted desperately
to go in and join the members of the congregation who were
laying their gifts on the altar. But, he was poor and had
nothing to give.
But I can at least pray, he thought to himself, and so he
knelt down outside the window where he could hear the music
coming from the church organ. When he rose again to his
feet, to his great amazement, he saw in the spot where he
had knelt, a beautiful plant with scarlet leaves and a yellow
flower in their center. He had never seen anything like it in
his life and realizing this was a "divine miracle", he
gently plucked the stalk and took it into the church to
lay on the altar.
This legend links it with the birth of Christ
and a little shepherdess named Madelon.
As Madelon tented her sheep one cold and wintry
night, wise men and other shepherds passed by
the snow covered field with their gifts for the
Christ Child. The wise men carried the rich gifts
of gold, myrrh and frankincense and the shepherds,
fruits, honey and doves.
When the Magi laid their rich offerings of myrrh,
frankincense, and gold, by the bed of the sleeping
Christ Child, legend says that Madelon stood outside
the door quietly weeping.
She, too, had sought the Christ Child. She, too,
desired to bring him gifts. But she had nothing
to offer, for she was very poor indeed. In vain
she had searched the countryside over for one
little flower to bring Him, but she could find
neither bloom nor leaf, for thewinter had been cold.
And as she stood there weeping, an angel passing
saw her sorrow, and stooping he brushed aside the
snow at her feet. And there sprang up on the spot
a cluster of beautiful winter roses, waxen white
with pink tipped petals.
"Nor myrrh, nor frankincense, nor gold," said the
angel, "is offering more meet for the Christ Child
than these pure Christmas Roses."
Joyfully the shepherd maiden gathered the flowers
and made her offering to the Holy Child.
Bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabella
Bring a torch, come swiftly and run.
Christ is born, tell the folk of the village,
Jesus is sleeping in His cradle,
Ah, ah, beautiful is the Mother,
Ah, ah, beautiful is her Son.
Hasten now, good folk of the village,
Hasten now, the Christ Child to see.
You will find Him asleep in a manger,
Quietly come and whisper softly,
Hush, hush, peacefully now He slumbers,
Hush, hush, peacefully now He sleeps.
If you should have any traditions, crafts, activities,
recipes, etc. you would like to share on this page,
please feel free to email me and tell me about them. E-mail