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Christmas Holly = Holy

 

weary-world-rejoices

It’s Christmas, it’s Christmas. Time for holly. These pictures are of the beautiful American holly tree (Ilex opaca) that grows in the southeastern United States. This one is in the St. John Church Bible Garden. It is evergreen. These pictures were taken on December 12 when the temperature is freezing at night. My friend told me that he goes out in the church garden, cuts springs from the holly trees, and uses them for garland in his home. I think that the holly tree is happy to be used in this way.

Don’t confuse this tree with the holm tree in the Bible. That tree is an evergreen oak (Quercus ilex). Both species take their name from the pointed leaves.

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If you want to grow holly trees you need a male and a female. Only the female tree produces beautiful red berries.

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A Christmas carol is The Holly and The Ivy.

Reflection: When I see, or hear, the word holly, I always think of holy. God is holy–pure, just, kind, bright–and I am not. If I were holy, I would want to be like the colors of the holly tree, e.g., vibrant, pleasing to look at, even colorful. I would want people to look at me and smile, as I do when I look at a holly tree.

I love Bible plants along with their symbolism. If you want to learn more about them, read my two books: 1) Rooted in God and 2) God as a Gardener. You can purchase them from my website: Carolyn Roth Ministry at http://www.CarolynRothMinistry.com/

Copyright: December 13, 2015; Carolyn A. Roth

 

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Christian Superstitions

from CharGuth@aol.com

At midnight on Christmas Eve,
all water turns to wine,
cattle kneel facing toward the East,
horses kneel and blow as if to warm the manger,
animals can speak but it is bad for a human to hear them,
and the bees hum the Hundredth Psalm.

The Irish believe that the gates of heaven
open at midnight on Christmas Eve.
Those who die at that time go straight through
without having to wait in purgatory.

It is considered very lucky to be born
on Christmas Eve or Christmas day in most countries.
However, in Greece the child is feared to be
a Kallikantzaroi or a wandering spirit.
In Poland the child may turn out to be a werewolf.

The weather on each of the twelve days of Christmas
signifies what the weather will be on
the appropriate month of the coming year.

There is a game in Germany where they blindfold a goose.
The girls make a circle around the goose and whoever
it touches first will be the first to get married.

Place a branch of a cherry tree in water
at the beginning of advent.
It will bring luck if it flowers by Christmas.

You should burn your old shoes during
the Christmas season in Greece
to prevent misfortunes in the coming year.

It is bad luck to let any fire go out
in your house during the Christmas season.
The fire in your fireplace must continue to burn
for the twelve days of Christmas.

If you do not eat plum pudding during the season,
you will have bad luck for a year.

If you refuse mince pie at Christmas dinner,
you will have bad luck for a year.

A loaf of bread left on the table
after Christmas Eve dinner will ensure
no lack of bread for the next year.

If an apple is eaten at midnight on Christmas Eve,
good health will follow for a year.

Tie wet bands of straw around fruit trees
to make them fruitful, or tie a stone
to a branch on Christmas Eve.

Nothing sown on Christmas Eve will perish,
even if the seed is sown in the snow.

In the Netherlands they take a fir stick and
thrust it into the fire and let it burn partially.
They put it under the bed.
This serves as lightening protection.

Never launder a Christmas present
before giving it to its recipient
as this takes out the good luck.

Time To Order Christmas Gifts

Is giving a book — a Christian book — part of your plans? Now is the time or order one (or more) at the lowest rate possible. Go to http://www.CarolynRothMinistry.com and purchase one (or more) of the following:

Impatiens

Impatiens are great bedding and container flowers that ought to bloom reliably all summer long. They’re an old standby for bright, full color.
Of all the possible reasons impatiens are not blooming, one of the most common is improper sun exposure. Impatiens plants bloom best with some shade, a requirement that often leads to misunderstanding.
While some impatiens bloom well in full shade, for the most part they’ll perform better with at least some sun. On the other hand, too much sun will cut down on blooming, too. Avoid planting your impatiens in full sun.
If you have them in full shade and they’re not blooming well, try moving them to a spot that gets a few hours of good afternoon sun exposure.
Another common cause of no flowers on impatiens is improper watering. If the roots of impatiens plants get waterlogged, the flowers will tend to drop off and the foliage will take on a red tinge. If you see this, cut back on your watering. Don’t cut back too far, though. You never want your soil to dry out completely.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Impatiens Won’t Bloom: Reasons For No Flowers On Impatiens Plant https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/impatiens/no-flowers-on-impatiens-plant.htm

Consequences of Sin

Book Description: Disobedience has consequences. When ancient Israelites disobeyed God’s statutes, their land was overrun by foreign enemies. They were exiled from their homeland. Prophets attempted to warn them what was going to occur; however, both kings and commoners ignored warnings. Disobedience to God’s laws wasn’t confined to Israelites 2000-3000 years ago. Americans ignore God’s laws and commit the same sins as ancient Israelites, i.e., idolatry, burglary, slavery.  I don’t think that God has one standard and one outcome for Israelites and another for us. This book uses plants to point out the sins of ancient Israel just like ancient prophets used plants to make their point.

What People are Saying:

Dr. Roth tackles this elusive topic courageously confronting the plants most gardeners dread. The result? She rewards curiosity with much to ponder, turning the thorns, thistles, briers, and cohorts into a poignant prickling of conscious and deeper dig into God’s word.” Shelley S. Cramm, God’s Word for Gardeners, NIV Bible

“What a book! Whoever would have thought that meaningful Biblical instruction could be found by examining plant life. Leave it to Dr. Carolyn Roth to research this easily overlooked aspect of biblical teaching and bring to light numerous lessons of Godly living. If you are looking for a truly innovative and interesting way to gain spiritual insight, this book is it.”  John Domalski, Lay Minister, St. John Lutheran Church, Roanoke, VA

Can be purchased on Amazon as a paperback or electronic copy or as a paperback at http://www.CarolynRothMinistry.com

 

Red Geraniums

The mention of geraniums typically conjures up images of bright red blooms against rich green foliage adorning window boxes and porch railings. You may be surprised to learn that there are hundreds of species of geraniums that range in size, shape and color. The common geranium comes in shades of white, red and pink with many striking bi-colors, too.

What Does the Geranium Flower Mean?

The geranium flower appears to have some conflicting meanings, which means you must rely on both the circumstances and their color to refine their meaning. Some of the most common meanings are:

  • Folly or Stupidity
  • Gentility
  • Ingenuity
  • Melancholy
  • Bridal Favor
  • Unexpected Meeting
  • Expected Meeting
  • Preference
  • True Friendship

Bachelor’s in the Bible

This is a flower grown from seeds on my back porch. It is called a Bachelor’s button (Centaurea cyanus) and cornflower. Although it grows in Europe and the United States, I am not sure if it ever grew in the Middle East. Its colors are purple, blue, and pink.

I have been attempting to name bachelor’s in the Bible. In the Old Testament, Abel may have been a bachelor. Definitely, Jeremiah was a bachelor.

In the New Testament: Jesus was a bachelor as was John the Baptist. Can you think of any other Bible characters who were bachelors?

Bachelor men and women contributed to the spread of Christ’s kingdom.

Reflection: If God has called you to an unmarried state in life, identify ways that you can honor God in your bachelorhood.

Copyright July 30, 2019; Carolyn A. Roth