On a cold, snow-covered night, a young shepherd girl, Madelon, was in the field helping her father tend the sheep. As she hunkered down in the warm shelter of a rock close to the fire, she listened to the adults speak of the coming of a miracle birth.
In hushed tones, the men spoke of witnessing exploding bright lights and Angels. One old man swore, “I saw the gates of heaven open and beautiful Angels descending from the Heavens announcing the coming birth of a King.” The news left the men mystified, while the small child shivered with fright, not understanding the meaning.
As the herders sat around, not knowing what to do, they were joined by three Magi carrying extraordinary gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense. Madelon crept closer to hear. The Magi spoke of the coming of a Savior, bringing peace and goodwill to all. They invited the shepherds to come bear witness to the glorious event. The shepherds hurried to arrange for the safety of their sheep, then gathered whatever they had as gifts – -fruit, honey, and doves. To greet the infant King without a gift was undoubtedly a sin.
Madelon, determined not to be left behind, secretly followed the men to the village of Bethlehem. Arriving cold and weary, the child hid so as not to be spotted by the men, who would surely chase her home. Sad that she had no gift, and not wanting to commit a sin, she remained outside to look for anything to offer the Baby. But, unable to find not even a flower, Madelon fell to her knees sobbing uncontrollably.
A nearby Angel, watching and having pity on the little shepherd, caused greenery and buds to grow where tears melted a bare patch of earth at the frozen feet of the girl. Astonished, Madelon, holding her breath, watched in amazement as buds burst open exposing beautiful white flowers with rose-tinted petals. Promptly Madelon picked the ‘miracle’ flowers and dashed to the stable where lay the Babe. As she approached the stable entrance, she was overwhelmed by the beauty of Mother and Babe, surrounded by a beautiful aura. She was reluctant to enter.
As the Madonna sat watch over the sleeping Baby Jesus on a bed of hay, she sensed a presence behind her. She turned to see a frightened child standing there, cheeks flushed and tears yet to dry. In her clenched hands, she held a small bouquet of delicate, sparkling white blossoms.
Smiling, the Mother beckoned the young girl to come forward. Madelon timidly approached the cradle, knelt and laid the flowers in the bosom of the sleeping new-born King. Whatever the reason, the Baby awoke, extending His tiny hand toward Madelon, as if to offer a blessing.
And….at that moment, Madelon, eyes aglow, and a heart full of everlasting joy, felt all pain, sorrow, and weariness flow out from her frail young body.
The Christmas Rose is also known as the ‘Snow Rose,’ or ‘Winter Rose.’ Believed to have originated in the mountains of Central Europe, it blooms during the winter months.