• Rev. Caroline

Getting the balance right

There is something rather exotic about a poinsettia. From its green velvety leaves to the rich red of its flowers, it spells luxury, the sort of plant that should be carefully placed in an Italian marble pot and displayed on an antique mahogany table. That it’s not the easiest living thing to keep alive adds to its allure – it’s not for everyone, it requires careful handling and attention to detail.

Poinsettias grow wild and abundantly in Madeira but for us in the UK, they are house plants and mainly associated with Christmas, their red and green finery being traditional colours for that time of year.

The instructions on care, should you receive one, are specific. The poinsettia does not flourish in extremes. It likes sunshine, but not too much. It needs watering, but don’t overdo it or leave it in a pool of water. It likes fresh air, but not draughts. And only if you are exceptionally fastidious will it survive to bloom again next Christmas, though it is a thing of such beauty that we should be motivated to look after it to the best of our ability.

Advent has not yet begun but discussions on a national scale and conversations at local family level are already well under way with regard to Christmas. What will it be like? Has Christmas been stolen?? Is it worth it? And so on, and so on.

Let’s take a leaf from the poinsettia:

· let’s meet up with those dear ones in our bubble, but not too much;

· we need to be together for it to feel like Christmas, but we mustn’t overstay and break the Scottish Government rules;

· let’s get out in the fresh air, but don’t let Gran and Grandad catch a chill.

And on a wider scale, we could help to get the balance right by buying what we need, and giving something to the foodbank; decorating our home and donating to a charity for those with no home, or a home without the heating on.

If we all made an effort to do a little extra (as Jesus puts it, to go the extra mile) it would mean a lot to those who right now feel that no-one cares whether they flourish or not.

Thank you to all my fellow members at Meadowside St Paul’s for a most beautiful poinsettia

– a lovely surprise when my regular appointment to lead Sunday worship came to an end earlier this month.

Together, I’m sure, we will work with Anita on the next stage of our congregational life.

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