The Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera cultivar for all you horticulturalists) in my office is beginning to bloom again. It actually blooms a few times during the year but most prominently about now, right around the Christmas season. It has also been called the Thanksgiving Cactus or Holiday Cactus. It is a beautiful plant and thanks to Donna Bolster, it is still living to bloom another day!
If you asked the Cactus (you have to use your imagination here, folks) why it blooms in the winter, when most plants are dying, it would tell you (I am assuming here) that it was simply made this way. It is doing what is natural to itself. While we see it as unnatural (or even supernatural) the Christmas Cactus is just being…a Christmas Cactus! No different than other Christmas Cactuses that may even be blooming in your home. It is doing what it was made to do…bloom during this time of year.
Paul instructs the Corinthians to live out what they were naturally created to do: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Whatever we do…eating, drinking, working; in our marriages, our neighborhoods, at our jobs in our schools…with friends and family, with strangers and enemies we are given the same instruction…”Do it all for the glory of God.” But we spend a lot of time and energy, both physical and mental, chasing after that which is un-natural to our spirit and soul. We allow our minds to drift, our spirits to wander and our bodies to compromise. We stuff ourselves with self indulgence and become bloated with self absorption. We medicate ourselves with pills and alcohol, we work to exhaustion and busy ourselves from morning until night. We live unnaturally but expect the blessings of the natural life.
St. Augustine said: “Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.” It is when we find our rest in Christ, when He becomes the One to fill the voids in our lives, that we can live as we were created to live. We were created to enjoy God, to live in communion with others, to have rhythms and pace, to engage silence and solitude, to embrace the moment and find delight in living out the mission an ministry the Holy Spirit has gifted us for. Although our sinful nature fights against the will of God, we are no longer slaves to the nature that once ruled us. Paul writes in Romans 8:2 – 5
“Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”
As the Christmas Cactus blooms naturally at this time of year it is also a great season for us to do what were naturally created to do…to glorify God and to enjoy Him in any and every situation. We are new creations created to desire what the Spirit desires. It is a great time of year for us to bloom as Jesus followers.
What do you think?
How does this make you feel?