I sit on my grandparent’s plaid couch, my brother and two cousins beside me. Though I’m excited, I resist fidgeting too much to keep my new dress smooth and my blonde curls in place. Aunt Janna closes the blinds so we can’t see my dad and Uncle Mike hiding eggs in the backyard. Baskets in hand, we wait, anticipating the annual Easter Egg Hunt. As the oldest grandchild, I know what’s coming, and I know it’s worth the wait.
When the men come back inside, we spring to our feet, hopping up like cottontail bunnies. Memaw slows our pace with her words, “Now remember, each of you has a special egg with your name on it. You may hunt and gather any eggs you find, but the special eggs are only for the grandchild whose name is on it. Have fun!” And with that, Papaw opens the screen door, and the epic Egg Hunt begins.
The four of us bolt out the door, eyes searching for drops of plastic color in the large backyard. My little brother and youngest cousin traipse through Papaw’s flower beds, filling their baskets with eggs found under leaves and lilies. I turn to see my other cousin reaching for a big white egg on the fence beam. That better have his name on it, I say to myself as I run toward the house, spotting a white egg high up on the window ledge. On tiptoes, I reach up, and my fingers close around the oval orb. I slowly lower my hand to look at what I hold. My fingers rub the cute bunny sticker. I gently rotate the egg over.
And there it is.
In Memaw’s flowing cursive—black ink identifying the white egg.
Valerie. My name. My egg. My unique find for my basket alone.
I gently peel off the edge of the bunny’s feet, careful not to tear the sticker. Opening the egg, I see my treasure: a five-dollar bill. Smiling, I close my prize and press the bunny’s feet back over the seam to keep my money safe inside.
Suddenly, I hear my little cousin’s voice with a twinge of whininess. She can’t find her special egg.
“Look high, look low,” my mom’s voice sings.
I scan the yard and notice a white dot in the thick grass at the corner of Papaw’s shed. “Come on, Kylee! I think I see your egg!” We run over together, and she bends down to inspect our find. “It’s my name!” she squeals as she sits down in the grass, the ruffles of her Easter dress floating down around her. She excitedly opens her egg and discovers her prize. Clutching the bill in her little hand, she grabs her basket with the other hand and stands up.
“Thanks for helping me find it, Val,” she says.
“You’re welcome,” I say with a smile. “Come on! I see two more pink eggs over by the chairs!”
We hurry across the yard, hoping to make it to the patio before the boys do.
“Have all of my grandchildren found their special eggs?” Memaw’s voice chimes.
“Yes, Memaw! Thank you for our eggs!” we all say, a bit winded from the hunt.
Then we go back inside, where the grown-ups sip their iced tea, and a few of us have a second sliver of Papaw’s chocolate pie.
Made to seek
I loved our annual Easter Egg Hunt — the searching, spotting, and snatching little eggs alongside my brother and cousins (who provided motivating competition) are some of my fondest childhood memories.
I still enjoy the thrill of the hunt—the process and activity of searching for the one thing that brings satisfaction.
The special egg with my name on it.
The perfect patterned fabric to tie everything together in a room.
A spiritual truth found in a mundane moment.
People possess a natural inclination to search. As a child, I loved playing hide-and-seek, searching for plastic eggs, or spotting hidden animals in children’s books. We are creatures made to discover. Looking comes naturally. We were made to seek.
Searching for something
We are all searching for something, usually quite a few things at one time:
- meaning for our lives
- purpose in our days
We look across the landscaping of our lives to see all of the colorful mini containers, eager for their contents to meet a need or offer hope.
Opening the egg, we find nothing. The very thing we hoped to find comes up empty.
Or maybe it does have a couple of jellybeans—sweet candied morsels that satisfy in the moment yet leave us craving more.
Where are you looking?
When I seek approval from others, significance from accomplishments, or purpose from culture, I find empty eggs.
Maybe you can relate?
This leaves me and you with two choices:
- Sit in the grass holding the halves in each hand and wonder if the next one holds what I need.
- Close the egg and place it in my basket—the carry-all of my life—the One who holds all things together for his kingdom purpose.
Where will we choose to look?
The One who holds it all
Maybe it’s a stretch for you to see God as an Easter basket. Perhaps it seems silly or even sacrilegious. I believe God gives us insight into our faith through anything we are willing to see — even an Easter basket. Stay with me as we consider this analogy.
We must place all of our “eggs” (all that we seek) in Jesus. If I hope to find significance, meaning, and purpose in the flimsy shells of cultural ideology, self achievements, or other’s approval, I come up empty — holding half a shell in each hand, wondering where to look next.
When we pick up our hopes and heartaches, fears and failures, desires and decisions, needs and unknowns, and place them in Christ’s care, our load is lighter because we trust the One who is capable of holding it all together.
Jesus is the one who holds it all. Placing all our eggs in one basket can be a good thing.
The One we search for
I see myself in the backyard of my life on a continuous egg hunt.
Searching. Finding. Placing and replacing.
Yet, there is one egg that is mine alone, which represents my unique being—my personality, experiences, struggles, successes, hopes, and failures—all of me held together with a cross over the seam.
I thank God for grace as I place myself once again in his capable care. He holds the contents of my soul, the one with black Sharpie that reads Valerie.
He holds you, too.
We are all in an epic egg hunt, searching for hope. Searching for Jesus.
Sealed with the Cross
This Easter, know that the One who came to this broken world, leaving the glory of heaven, did so for you. Jesus came and died and rose again — because you and I search for things in the wrong places and think we can hold everything we need in our arms. But we can’t. We cannot save ourselves, nor can anyone or anything else—nothing but the blood of Jesus, our Savior.
“You see, all have sinned, and all their futile attempts to reach God in His glory fail. Yet they are now saved and set right by His free gift of grace through the redemption available only in Jesus the Anointed. When God set Him up to be the sacrifice—the seat of mercy where sins are atoned through faith—His blood became the demonstration of God’s own restorative justice. All of this confirms His faithfulness to the promise, for over the course of human history God patiently held back as He dealt with the sins being committed. This expression of God’s restorative justice displays in the present that He is just and righteous and that He makes right those who trust and commit themselves to Jesus.” —Romans 3:23-25 VOICE
Trust Jesus. He is the One who holds you and all you seek. He is our carry-all, keeping everything in his capable hands. Know that the egg with your name on it—your unique soul—is of great value, containing so much worth that the God of heaven sent Jesus to seek you. To suffer for you. To save you.
Celebrate the hope of Jesus
Years later, I’m the grown-up now. This Easter, my husband and I will close the blinds, then step into the backyard with grocery bags full of empty plastic eggs and hide them. I’ll place four large eggs, each with a name written in Sharpie in my handwriting, sealed with a bunny sticker. My kids will laugh and run and open their special eggs to find a treasure. We’ll talk about how the empty eggs remind us of the empty tomb and Jesus’ power over sin and death.
I’ll smile with the memory of Memaw outside in her purple blouse and skirt with pearls strung around her neck, face beaming. I doubt she knew the impact she had on my life and how the egg hunts she facilitated helped me understand facets of faith.
The memories of my childhood Easter celebrations help me celebrate the Truth of Easter more fully.
In the midst of the brokenness around us and within us, we can still celebrate because of the hope of Jesus.
May we remember the cross and how it covers over the seam of our sin, restoring our peace with God.
May we offer daily thanks to our Savior for his radical grace.
And may we follow Jesus as he leads us to glory.
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