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What can a cactus teach us about the resurrection? The Christmas-Easter Cactus (His Encouragement)

I thought my Christmas cactus was dead, but it bloomed unexpectedly. My Christmas cactus became an Easter cactus!

A green cactus with a single purple bloom sits on the windowsill.

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

John 20:18, NIV

I thought my cactus was deadbut I was mistaken.

Good morning! Happy Easter Season! Did you know that in the Western church calendar, Easter lasts for fifty days? Eastertide lasts until Pentecost.

Last Sunday (the first Sunday of Easter), I brought a friend with me to church to help us celebrate: My cactus. This little cactus is very special to me (you can see his picture at the top of the page).

My cactus is precious to me because it was a Christmas gift from a friend. She gave it to me before she moved away. I was very touched by this thoughtful present—but I was also a little worried. You see, I have this terrible problem: No matter how hard I try, I just can’t keep plants alive. 

I decided I would do my best to take care of my Christmas cactus. Although I was afraid I would make a mistake and kill this adorable little cactus, I decided I would do my best and give the rest to God.

A sign of hope

Time passed, and I managed to keep the cactus alive for over a year. He never bloomed– but at least I remembered to water him. Sadly, in late January I was admitted to Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia for an emergency eye surgery. With everything going on, I completely forgot to water my cactus.

I was dreadfully sad when I realized what I had done. I was sure I had killed it! It was brown and droopy. It looked completely dead.

I mourned for my little cactus, but I couldn’t bring myself to throw him away. I gave him water and said a little prayer. After a while, he started to look more green.

Imagine my surprise when my cactus started to show signs of life. Near the end of Lent, my Christmas cactus started to form small, tiny, delicate purple bulbs. It had transformed! My Christmas cactus became an Easter cactus!

I took this as a sign of hope. During the winter, everything looks dead. The ground freezes, trees lose their leaves, and lakes become covered with ice; however, we know that despite appearances, the world is not dead. It is simply waiting for spring. We know that eventually spring will come and the gardens will bloom once more.

Despite appearances, Jesus was not dead. He had risen!

At first, Mary and the disciples failed to grasp the significance of the empty tomb. They thought that Jesus was dead and that grave robbers had stolen his body. When Jesus appeared to Mary, she was confused and thought he was the gardener. It was not until he called her by name that she recognized him (John 20:16).

In winter, everything looks dead—but we know nature is simply lying in wait for spring. This world might look like a mess right now—but we know it is waiting with eager anticipation for Christ to come again. 

God can do amazing things. There are miracles everywhere, if we only stay alert and look for them. We do not always understand or see the hand of God at work. Sometimes, like Mary Magdalene, we are sad, lonely, and confused.

God is always there, especially during those times when we are too heartbroken to see Christ’s presence. Our Creator is constantly planting seeds in our hearts and in the world. 

When Mary saw that Jesus had risen from the dead, she went and proclaimed the Good News. She became one of the first people to preach the gospel.

We are called to proclaim the Good News, just as Mary did on the first Easter Sunday: The tomb is empty! Christ is risen!  

Image shows Rebecca and Jeff standing together and smiling. Rebecca wears a white red and a stole with butterflies.  They are standing in a church near the Easter flowers.
Happy Easter, from our family to yours!

This post is part of the series, “His Encouragement: Thursday Thoughts to Strengthen Your Soul.” Every Thursday, a group of friends and fellow Christian writers join together to share the Bible verses that are encouraging us during the week. What scripture verse has been on your heart lately? Let me know in the comments below!

Please be sure to check out the other great bloggers involved in the His Encouragement weekly series! 

Trisha @ Joy of Reading

Nicole @ Christian Fiction Girl

Jacquelyn @ A Heavenly Home

Jessica @ A Baker’s Perspective

Becca @ The Becca Files

Jenny @ Author Jenny Lynn

Gina @ Stories By Gina

Andi @ Radiant Light

Leslie @ Words of Hope

Claudia @ By Claudia Mose

4 thoughts on “What can a cactus teach us about the resurrection? The Christmas-Easter Cactus (His Encouragement)”

  1. Hello Pastor Rebecca: I hope you are doing well today. Thank you for your devotional today. It is very inspirational. One question. Am I enlisted to take the course about John Wesley? Please inform me at jbarrett@susumc.org,,when you are ale to. I signed up for this and have the needed material. Peace and blessings. Joe Barrett

    On Thu, Apr 8, 2021, 10:35 AM Rev. Rebecca Writes wrote:

    > BeckieWrites posted: ” I thought my Christmas cactus was dead, but it > bloomed unexpectedly. My Christmas cactus became an Easter cactus! Mary > Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And > she told them that he had said these things to her” >


  2. Great post. Please pray for me and my friend, Tea. I’ve been sharing the gospel with her. She doesn’t know Jesus. She thinks that God is energy. I hope and pray that one day she will know Jesus.


  3. Hello Pastor Rebecca: I hope you and your family are doing well. I want to apologize for missing class last week. I must admit that I did forget again and my schedule was overloaded. Can I still meet tomorrow evening? Also, what chapters are due for reading tomorrow evening? I apologize again, and I do not like to send messages in Sunday, but I hope you will bear with me. Also, thank-you for your input a few weeks ago at the ZOOM DCOM meeting. I appreciate your suggestions and support for my ministry. Thank-you, too for your column, “Rebecca Writes.” You are a gifted writer. Peace and blessings. Joe Barrett P.S. If you find that you are too busy.or that you do not wish to answer tonight, could you send me an answer by tomorrow morning? I have secured a copy of “The Theology Of John Wesley:Holy Love and the Shape of Grace.” J.B.


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