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Christmas Cactus

Every year for the past few years, the result has been the same. The Christmas Cactus has not bloomed. I have diligently watered it, talked to it, put it in the right light. Still, very few flowers, if any.

My youngest son has started a business that has captured his heart--raising and selling succulents. With an expert in the family, I texted him to find out what I could do to force this plant to bloom in time for Christmas.

We talked about over watering, the wrong lighting, drafts, changing the soil for more drainage, etc. And then he asked, “Have you been feeding it?”

Feeding it? “With what?”

“Succulent plant food…”

How could I have missed something so basic?

Of course, I’m going to compare this to spiritual life! The cactus was green. It wasn’t as if it was dying. It appeared healthy. Yes, God, in God’s grace sustains us. We think we are doing all of the right things: going to worship services, going to Bible Study, singing in the choir, praying for the needs of others, meeting the needs of others, engaging in social justice, serving the poor and poor in spirit…but there is something missing. We are not blooming.

When was the last time you allowed God to feed your spirit? When was the last time you allowed yourself to be transplanted so that the living water could flow through you unhindered?

We tend to think that more is better when sometimes less is best. We think that doing more is the answer when sitting still may be the food we crave and need to bloom.

Many times, people will ask me, “What can I do to make this better?” And sometimes my response puzzles them. “Nothing.” “Nothing?”

Then I go on to explain. “It is not in the doing. It is in the not doing. It is in the surrendering. Sitting still. Listening. Taking time to hear the voice of God.

Can you really hear God’s voice? I’ve never heard God’s voice…”

“Why do you think that is?”

I don’t know. I’ve done all of the things that I’ve been asked to do. I’ve been obedient. I’ve given myself away serving others.”

“Have you waited to be fed?”

“Waited? There’s no time for waiting. There is so much to do!”

And so goes the conversation. The dialogue follows a circular path, and we end up where we started. “Are you blooming?”

“Well, no…”

My challenge to you for 2022 is to take time (yes, it does take time!) to sit before God and allow God to speak into your life, feed you, maybe even transplant you into a new space--one that is more conducive to listening and hearing. Doing the right things can only take you so far. You may be green, even growing, but you will lack the spiritual food to bloom. And when you allow God to feed you, a special plant food that fits you, you will have even more to give, but it will be different. It will come out of a different space in your heart and life. And it will take less energy because all you need will be provided to you. You will experience joy, as will those who come within your sphere of influence.


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