Hello. My name is Rachel, and I kill plants. I’m serious—plant-killing might be a certifiable hobby at this point. No plant has lasted in my house for more than about a month. This might sound strange coming from a science teacher, but I’m much more comfortable with chemicals in vials than in caring for living things. A few weeks ago, I decided to try my luck again and bought an amaryllis bulb on a shopping trip. The bulb had already started to sprout—one stalk was about six inches tall, and another hopeful sprout was poking through the surface of the bulb. On the way home, I put it in the backseat so my daughter could make sure it didn’t tip over on the long drive. However, we stopped at Costco on the way back, and forgetting the plant was there, I threw an industrial-sized pack of paper towels over the back seat and on top of the luckless amaryllis. What is it Albert Einstein said about insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. Yep.

I brought the broken plant home anyway, hoping for a Christmas miracle—maybe the stalk could repair itself, I told my tearful children. We watered it, set it in a sunny place, and staked the cracked stalk. Honestly, I didn’t expect much. But then a funny thing happened—the amaryllis continued to grow. After a few days, the plant could support its weight without falling over, and we removed the stakes. It bloomed a few days after that. Now, it’s sitting on a table in my living room with four beautiful flowers fully opened and another stalk growing beside the revived one. 

This everyday story speaks something true about the work of God in our lives. We too are hopelessly broken, often from the pressures of a life we didn’t create or even choose. But God (what a beautiful phrase!) reaches down and tenderly cares for us, giving us Living Water, the light of His grace and mercy, and restoration of our souls. Though the scars are never fully erased (my plant stalk still has a visible hole), beauty can still grow from the wreckage of a sinful heart and bloom into something completely unexpected. That is the hopeful message of Christmas which we just celebrated: God reached down to us when we were broken to create new life in our dead hearts. This new year, I pray that you too will experience the new life that only Christ offers as He continues to make all things new.

“The Lord is my Shepherd . . . He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1-2