Christmas in bloom

By Matt Porter

December 24, 2013 Updated Dec 24, 2013 at 8:03 PM EDT

Johnson City, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The poinsettia and its traditional brightly colored leaves goes back centuries.

It's red and white colored leaves help make it synonymous with the Christmas season.

Owner of Dillenbeck's Florist Cheryl Fritch said the colors of a Poinsettia symbolize Jesus Christ.

"The red is the blood of Christ, the white is the purity of Christ, and the green is the everlasting," Fritch said.

The flower was used in Central America as early as the 16th century, but it was American Joel Poinsett who brought the flower home where it became a household fixture.

"From there it just took off as a part of the Christmas tradition," Fritch said.

Fritch said most stick to the traditional colors although varieties are growing.

"They're even putting sprinkles and glitter on them now," she said. "The red carnations, the red roses, they've become very popular."

Father John Donovan at Saint James Roman Catholic Church in Johnson City said each flower has its own special meaning in the church, whether it be the red of the poinsettias to the use of evergreen plants.

Evergreens like Christmas wreaths and trees parallel the promise of eternal life.

"It's to be a sign of life and new hope," Donovan said.

From seed to blossom, Donovan said the flower cycle itself can be a symbol of Christ's birth, death, and resurrection.

"That we have life among us at all times," he said, "And yes the flowers die, but in order to grow again, we all have to die to truly live."

A Christmas wreath's circular structure illustrates that there are no ends to life after death.