By Breanna Cannon
CONNECTING FAITH AND LIFE
Spring is here with the daffodils in the woods, the return of bluebirds to the backyard and new life popping up everywhere. Our house has kicked spring off this year with a new adventure – 10 fluffy little chicks.
We had been thinking about getting chicks for a few years; and this spring, we were determined to do it. For anyone who has ever had chicks, they can be a lot of fun – but also come with some responsibilities. We thought both aspects of the pets would be great for our young family.
Just as we were preparing the proper items to receive our chicks, a friend of ours sent us a picture of her 37 new chicks! Her family hatched them in an incubator this spring. It was fascinating to hear how all 37 of the chicks broke through their shells. What a wonder to experience the hatching of all of that new life right before their eyes.
I have been so grateful we got our chicks this spring. It has brought an element of excitement and an unanticipated hope to our home. The chicks have provided an opportunity to teach responsibility, discover the fragility of life and the symbolism of the egg as we approach Easter and the Resurrection.
Did you know, for hundreds of years eggs have symbolized life, health and hope in many cultures around the world? In our Christian faith, the egg is a symbol of new life and the Resurrection.
Cultures around the world have traditions with eggs during the Easter season. In countries like Poland and Ukraine, eggs are decorated with ornate details and are often seen as pieces of art. The faithful fill baskets with the prepared ornate Easter eggs and other symbolic foods, and have them blessed at the Easter Vigil. Some Catholic parishes in the United States also practice this today.
In Germany, brightly colored eggs are opened and hung on tree branches known as Easter egg trees; the trees serve as festive reminders of the season. Some historians also believe that our modern-day Easter egg hunts originated in Germany.
Dating back to the medieval times, eggs were given up as a fast during the 40 days of Lent. To prepare for Easter, it was customary to dye eggs and give them to one's servants or loved ones to break the fast on Easter Sunday.
I also have my own traditions around Lent and Easter. One tradition is to wait to decorate my home with Easter decorations, butterflies, eggs, chicks, bunnies and crosses until Easter Sunday. I have a tote of my favorite decorations; I always anticipate placing out my special things.
This year, as I taught my children about the chicks and how eggs and chicks can point our minds to the Resurrection, I put out some of my Easter egg decorations. It was a beautiful experience to walk through the latter part of Lent preparing for Easter in a visible way with my children.
I have enjoyed seeing my children fascinated with the little chicks, and watching my 18-month-old "bawk" and "cheep" at them every chance he gets. I would have never imagined the chicks would have inspired us all on our Lenten and Easter journey. The chicks and egg decorations gave us a mindset of hope, new life, and helped us discover a newfound appreciation of the stone that was rolled away from the tomb.
“Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large” (Matthew 16:3-4).
The Easter season is a perfect time to be extra aware of all of the wonders God has placed right before us. This Easter, I pray we all see the signs and symbols of God’s love all around us, discover the joy of Christ's Resurrection and find hope for eternal life.