Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Lenten Christmas Rose, Jamestown, NC
Reverential Lenten Roses, Jamestown, NC
Lent has been designated as a forty day period of reverence before Easter that imitates the forty days that Jesus withdrew into the wilderness in preparation for his three year ministry. Consequently the Lenten season begins the last week of February and ends the first week of April. Since Christians also recognize Jesus’ birth in the last week of December, His conception or incarnation would have occurred nine months earlier or in the last week of March. The Lenten period heralds the end of winter’s harsh fallow season when the snow melts and flowers once again begin to restore color in the woodlands and gardens in the gentle season prior to summer’s oppressive heat. The English originally called this transitional season Lent, but that term later became more associated with the observance of the events preceding Jesus’ resurrection and salvation for all mankind. So, a new term was devised and the season became known as spring. It became a season of eternal hope, reflection and reverence.
Hellebores are hardy flowering plants that are frost resistant, evergreen, and bloom in this same Lenten period. Their bell shaped blooms resemble the simple shape of old fashioned roses found in the countryside. Hence, they have become known as Lenten Roses. One ancient legend of the Christmas Hellebore rose relates that the pure white bloom appears in the depth of winter due to the tears in the snow of a young girl who had no gift for the newborn Christ child. Hellebore Orientalis and its colorful hybrids display their colors amongst the early spring landscape as annual reminders of the sacred Lenten season. And in accordance with their spiritual mission, they arise with the beauty of their countenance bowed in reverential deference to their creator. Only when one kneels beside them are we able to share the experience and peer into the face of God.