Just in time for Christmas, two of my four orchids are blooming, and the other two have recently sent out shoots. It’s a marvel to me every time they rebloom. I’ll proudly show off the orchids, like a gleeful child at Christmas, pointing out the flowers to any remotely interested party. It seems like such an enormous feat that this otherwise plain plant can produce such a magnificent display. It is also a reminder of hope.
Many people mistake the orchid for dead after the original flowers wither and fall off, but orchids are cyclical bloomers. After a period of dormancy, healthy plants will continue to bloom one to two times a year. When the orchid sends out its shoot in preparation for blooming, you need to stake it. This ensures the stem grows straight and falls in the graceful curve that orchids are known for, while supporting the weight of the blooms.
By now you may be thinking that this is an article about orchids, but wait. Like the orchid, we require healthy conditions and support to grow strong. We need God’s word to water and fertilize our thirsty souls. At times we need the strength and support of others holding us up and cheering us on toward beauty. Sometimes we are the supports, helping others to rise and meet their potential. Without help along our journey, our growth may be inhibited, we may grow crooked, or we may even lose hope that we will ever bloom again.
This past year has brought many of us some very challenging times. We have found ourselves with many practical needs which have, at times, tried our nerves. Who could forget the weird toilet paper crisis, the world-wide lockdowns, and the fear of all that was to come? There have been many lost lives, lost jobs, and strained relationships. Social distancing from loved ones and friends, along with mask-wearing, loneliness, and line-ups. It’s more than enough fodder to make us feel weary. More than enough to question our strength and resilience. At times, it feels like a period of extreme dormancy where we wonder if anything will bloom again.
As Christmas draws near, it’s the ideal time to ask ourselves who in our community, in our midst, or under our own roof needs our support. How can we help others to grow, thrive, or just survive through the rest of this pandemic, either by an act of service, a donation to assist those in need, a kind word, or a labor of love? What can you do to press stakes into the ground around people’s lives, so they feel cared for and supported? So that they can grow and flourish in due season? So they can one day go on to do the same for others?
We witness goodness in this world when we spread goodness ourselves. It starts with individuals who choose to offer a hand to help another rise. Who add stakes to the fertile ground of others’ lives giving them the opportunity to grow and reach their full potential. It may be you or I who need a support stake this year, or it may be a stranger, friend, or a loved one, but let us do what is within our means to help each other flourish as we move through the challenges life presents us with, both this Christmas and in the coming days.
And let’s not forget the orchid who, after resting in dormancy, produces the most stunning blooms. May it be likewise for you and me in the coming year! xo
Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
~ Philippians 2:4
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