Soon my house will join the fun with twinkling lights and a white wooden nativity in the front yard. Boxes that have been packed away all year will emerge from the closet. Their memory filled contents will add beauty to our home for the weeks ahead. Cookies will be baked, cards will be mailed, presents will be wrapped, and carols will heard in public places proclaiming the birth of Christ the Lord. Christmas. Yes, it is the most wonderful time of the year!
But before the Christmas decorations are unpacked and the hustle and bustle of the season begins, a camellia bush quietly blooms in my side yard, its pale pink blossoms slowly opening one by one with increasing in beauty. Every year in late November this camellia transforms itself from an unassuming shrub into a beautiful bush adorned with frothy pink blossoms set among its glossy green leaves. The camellia will bloom throughout the Christmas season in silent praise to the Lord of all creation who came to earth as a newborn babe one silent night many years ago.
My camellia is a Camellia sasanqua, which is known as the Christmas camellia because its peak bloom time is in December. This species was originally cultivated in Japan for its tea leaves and tea seed oil, which has many uses in cooking and cosmetics.