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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bloom (11/22/12)

TITLE: Christmas Cactus
By Sandra Hartman



I woke up this morning to a strange whispering sound that seemed to crest in waves over my inert being. Wide awake now I listened. Everything was quiet except for the ticking of the bedside clock. “Must have been a parting figment of some dream,” I told myself and then-- the sound came again. Whispering softly at first, and building up to a whooshing crescendo that filled the room around me. I lie frozen to the bedcovers. “What was that?” Then it came again—this time I could just make out the words—“Look at me—“
“Look at who?” I whispered back.

There was a tapping at the window. I pulled up the bedcovers over my head. All was silent. I ventured a peek. To my relief no distorted face glared back at me. I studied the familiar items on top of the bookcase and then I saw it. A flash of red! Then another and another! “What was that?” I crept from bed and looked closer. My Christmas Cactus was blooming!!! Wow!!! After a year of my less than stellar plant caring skills it was blooming!!

Now of course you know that the whispering cactus is just a figment of my imagination but it did bloom and I was amazed at its beauty.

After breakfast I began to think about that Christmas cactus. It was sitting alone in the corner window of my bedroom. I hardly noticed it all year except during my feeble attempts to remember to water it. No one but me ever went into my bedroom. Why bother to bloom? Why put on that glorious show for –well—no one except me?

That was when I was struck with the thought of the human condition or more appropriately my condition. If I were that cactus I would be running around demanding that everybody notice my beautiful flowers. No way would I sit there and bloom unnoticed. In fact why bother to bloom at all if no one noticed?

Then I thought,” Perhaps the Christmas cactus blooms for God alone, and it doesn’t matter who else sees its bloom.”

In my selfish, prideful, human condition I could never understand that but my spirit immediately warmed to the subject. All this striving to “do things for the Lord,” though sincere, was tainted with a little bit of trying to impress other people. That meant I was selective in the work I would do for Him. I was more than glad to teach a Sunday School class or host a Bible study--- but clean the toilets or take out the trash? Not so much. Sure I wanted to do things for the Lord but I didn’t want to do things that no one ever noticed.

If I were more like the Christmas Cactus I would be happy to bloom wherever He planted me. I would be happy to perform any task He had for me; even the most menial never expecting recognitions or praise. I would humbly serve Him looking simply for His smile upon my life.

Aah—humility-- what an old fashioned concept!.

Or is it?

Maybe it is just what the 21st century Christian needs more than anything else.


It cancels out pride; which gets in the way of our truly doing service for Him alone. His desire for me is to glorify Him not me. He wants people to see Him when they look into my eyes. He wants them to feel His hands when I touch them. He wants them to know that Jesus is in me and cares about them and longs to live in them as well. Just as the Christmas Cactus quietly glorifies it’s Creator with it’s beautiful blooms; I too am meant to glorify Him. and only Him.

So this season I think I’ll be a Christmas Cactus even if that means cleaning up after the Christmas program rather than performing in it.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Christina Banks 12/01/12
I like your point about humility. It is easier to do things for God when we get the praise of others. It is harder to serve God when no one else will ever know. But it is those moments that the true condition of our heart is seen.
C D Swanson 12/04/12
I love this piece. And, a Christmas Cactus always fascinated me, so naturally I enjoyed the analogy.

It is so important that we realize that what we do we do for God. And, that God is the only one that matters. For we do things in secret He sees. Good message.

God bless~