Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Legend of the Poinsettia

Advent is a wonderful time to pull out a favorite story from your stash of books. The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola is a favorite of mine. After reading the story, making poinsettia lollipops is a simple activity that can be done at home or in the classroom. As you may know, the story draws the reader into the true meaning of the Christmas season - giving oneself to Jesus.

The main character, Lucida, with her mother hopes to make a beautiful blanket for the annual parish nativity procession in the mountains of Mexico. Lucida's mother becomes ill and can not complete the blanket. Lucida tries to finish the blanket on her own but tangles the yarn thoroughly. No one is able to undue the tangles and finish the blanket in time for the procession.
Poor Lucida now she has nothing to give the Christ Child as a gift. A kindly woman encourages her to come to the church anyway. She reminds Lucida "...any gift is beautiful because it is given ...Whatever you give, the Baby Jesus will love, because it comes from you." Near the church she sees some tall weeds growing and picks them. She turns to the kindly woman to ask if these would be alright to give the Holy Child, but the woman has disappeared.
Going into the church some women murmur that Lucida is bringing weeds to the Christ Child. As she stops to pray before the Holy Infant, she bows her head. Suddenly the church is filled with a hushed silence. Beautiful red flowers are springing forth from the weeds. Lucida's gift had become beautiful. Outside of the church all the tall weeds now have flaming red flowers like stars on green poles. The towns people called the flowers la Flor de Nochebuena - the Flower of the Holy Night.
After finishing this story, it is fun to make Poinsettia lollipops to remind us of the legend of the poinsettia and the meaning contained in the legend. Advent is full of many stories - think of the legends of St. Nicholas or the Juggler for Christ- that point us to deeper spiritual realities. Reading the stories, making some of the symbols are enjoyable ways to spend time with our children and teach them perennial truths of the Advent and Christmas seasons.


 Poinsettia Lollipops

1 Pkg. Red Candy Melts plastic poinsettia lollipop molds*
1/4 cup Green Candy Melts lollipop sticks to fit mold
Directions: Melt 1 cup of red candy melts in microwavable dish for 45 seconds.
Stir candy. If not melted, heat in microwave for 30 seconds more. Continue to heat
for short periods of time and stir until candy is melted. Do not overheat. Insert sticks
into lollipop mold(s). Pour melted candy into each mold. Gently tap to get rid of air
bubbles. Place in freezer for 5 minutes. Check candy is firm. Remove candy from
freezer and gently unmold. Melt green candy melts. When melted, take the
end of a lollipop stick or some pointed utensil and dip in melted green candy. Dot
the center of the poinsettia lollipop with green chocolate. Repeat for all lollipops.

* Molds may be purchased at Fran's Cake and Candy in Fairfax City or ordered online.
Here are two online sites: - search for Christmas poinsettia chocolate molds
or - search for poinsettia chocolate molds
Melts and sticks for lollipops (suckers) are available at Michael's, WalMart and many party stores. Check for color availability.

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