Dec 17, 2011
The Legend of the Poinsettia
The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola
Illustrated by Tomie dePaola
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons
Lucida lived in a small village in the mountains of Mexico with her family. She helped her mom cook and took care of her little siblings. "Each evening they went to the shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe near the front gate to see if fresh candles were needed." The town was getting ready for Christmas and Father Alvarez asked Lucida's mom if she could weave a new blanket to cover Baby Jesus during the procession. Lucida's mother was honored and started working on the new blanket right away.
One day, while Lucida was at the church practicing the songs for the Christmas procession, a neighbor came running to let her know that her mother was sick and her father had taken her to the doctor. Lucida's parents wouldn't be home till after Christmas. Lucida tried to finish the blanket by herself but it was too difficult and the wool got all tangled. She cried, feeling like it was all her fault, "in her heart she felt that she had ruined Christmas." On the night of the procession, Lucida hid in the darkness ashamed. An old woman approached her and told Lucida her mother will be fine and she should go inside the church to celebrate Christmas. Lucida explained that she hadn't finished the blanket and she didn't have a gift for Baby Jesus, and the old woman told her "any gift is beautiful because it is given." Lucida looked around for something to give Baby Jesus and carried inside the church a bundle of green weeds in her arms. She looked back but the old lady had disappeared. As she lay the weeds down by the manger, she bowed down and prayed and then all the weeds changed color from green to red, like flaming stars. Even the weeds outside changed. "Lucida's simple gift had indeed become beautiful."
I love The Legend of the Poinsettia. It's such a beautiful story! It's message is worth spreading during the holidays when we might lose focus and spend too much in extravagant gifts. It is the gifts of love that really make a difference.