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Seasonal Reflection

The Easter Egg...A Christian Symbol?

People around the world, since long before the coming of Christ, have observed traditional spring rites for a season of new growth and fertility begins. Symbols and myths go back far into the distant past of humanity. The Romans had the proverb — Omne vivum ex ovo / All life comes from an egg.

Christ emerged from his tomb almost 2,000 years ago. From the first days Christians have expressed their joy in Christ's new life by every type of symbol or ritual. They took to the ancient and natural symbol of the egg, by adding their own new and supernatural meaning.

So Christians "baptized" the egg as a symbol of Christ's passion, death and resurrection. Christians saw the egg's shell as a symbol of the protective darkness of the life-giving tomb; a hatching chick represented the risen Christ emerging from the tomb on Easter morning. The egg's shape, with neither beginning nor end, was a symbol of eternity. It clearly is also the "womb" of the tomb, where the Crucified was given new life.

So, new life emerges from an egg — Christ emerges alive from the tomb, formerly just a place of death. Life begets a new generation of life coming out of an egg. Christ generates new life for all creation…putting death to death!

The best egg is an empty egg… hatched out… purpose fulfilled...a new life begun. The best tomb is an empty tomb. The Lord whom you seek is no longer here, for He is risen just as He said! said the angel.

Here is a Polish legend —
On the first Good Friday a man was taking a basket of eggs to market to sell. On the way he put the basket down and ran to help Christ carry the cross. When he returned, the eggs were supposedly decorated in beautiful colors and designs.

Christians have thus colored eggs with bright colors and ornamental designs. Kings and popes have given eggs out because an egg speaks so clearly about newness, a promise fulfilled, a new life begun, death left for dead in the tomb, hope ricocheting around the universe, love conquering fear, peace arching over the world like a rainbow.

Pope Paul V (1605-21) used this prayer of blessing for eggs —
Bless, O Lord, we beseech you, these Your creatures of eggs, that they may become a wholesome sustenance to Your faithful servants, eating in thankfulness to You, on account of the Resurrection of Our Lord."


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