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The Lost Easter Egg
by Greg Baker
2/08/2011 / Holidays
Easter. A word, a holiday, that ought to conjure up images of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but for me, an eight year old boy living in Phoenix Arizona, I thought of only one thing: Easter Egg Hunt.
Like most typical boys, dressing up for Easter church services had about as much appeal as being asked to kiss one's sister for the cuteness factor of a family photo. But mom insisted that we at least look presentable at churchalthough being from a church going family, I didn't see the big deal of dressing up extra special for this one particular service. But I was willing, if for nothing else to get the whole thing over with so we could get to the really fun business of hunting for Easter eggs.
This year we would be going to my Grandfather's Dairy for the hunt. My grandparents lived practically next door to the Salt River on the west side of Phoenix and had lots of room to hide Easter Eggs. So as soon as church let out, I practically dragged my parents to the truck. "Let's go! Let's go!" my young insistent voice repeated over and over. In this, I was not alone. My younger brother's voice, Kevin, joined mine with equal fervor.
The Dairy held many wonders for us city boys, but upon arrival, my brother and I had eyes for only one thing: the huge yard surrounding our Grandparent's house. We began to immediately peek about trying to spot any flashes of color that would indicate the location of the coveted eggs. We spotted some right away and I began calculating how I could get to all of them first.
Dad noticed our furtive glances. "Wait until everyone is ready," he warned. He indicated the house. "Go straight into the house. Go on. Get moving."
Dashing ahead, my brother and I deserted our parents for the house and to hopefully expedite the beginning of the hunt. Grandma and Grandpa greeted us warmly and our cousin, Destinylooking about as impatient as I feltasked, "Can we start now?"
I liked the sound of that! Grandma, a short woman with red hair, looked over us like a mother hen. She waited for my parents to enter the room and then laid down the rules. "There are fifty eggs hidden in the yard. Stay in the fenced area, do not jump the fence, and" she looked meaningfully at me, "no fighting."
I heard only two words: fifty eggs! Now, you must understand, these eggs were authentic hard boiled eggs, dipped in food coloring dye and, in many cases, hand painted with colorful designs. I had seen some of them already. I knew which ones I wanted and figured they would be much harder to findespecially if either my devious father or grandfather had any hand in the hiding. I determined to be the one to find them.
Seeing the eagerness on our three young faces, Grandma relented. "Go find them!"
We tore through the kitchen, into the breezeway and then sped outside. Instantly our three pairs of eyes lighted on a yellow egg partially hidden near one of the swing set legs. All three of us ran toward it mob style. Destiny yelled, "I saw it first!" Kevin, the youngest of us, realizing I would reach the egg before them, peeled off in search of easier pickings.
I scooped up the yellow egg, deposited it in my basket, and without so much as a backwards glance ran off in search of more. Destiny's wail of outrage followed me around the house.
And so it went. We hunted high, climbing up tree trunks, fences, and anything else where we might uncover a colorful egg. We hunted low, crawling through shrubs, under tables, and digging through the dirt. Eventually, we gathered back near the swing set and counted our eggs.
Of the fifty we had found forty-nine. Well that started a massive egg hunt that even pulled the six or seven adults into the search. We found nothing. I don't recall exactly how long we looked, but we never did find it.
Time passed and that elusive Easter Egg continued to bother me. Occasionally, throughout the following year our family would visit the Dairy. For the first few times, I made a stab of locating that shy egg. Still didn't find it. And eventually, we all forgot about it.
The next Easter, however, a similar pattern as the previous year developed. My brother, cousin, and myself found ourselves once again all set to pick my Grandparent's yard apart in search of eggs. Grandma announced, "There are fifty eggs! Go find them!" We did, searching like mad for as many eggs as possible.
At length, we all gathered back near a picnic table to count eggs. We counted them and I couldn't believe it. "There are fifty-one eggs!" I exclaimed.
"Fifty-one?" Grandma inquired. "There should only be fifty!"
I grew more excited, suddenly recalling the missing egg from the year previous. "We missed one last year!" I reminded everyone. "We found it!"
"Impossible," Dad disagreed. "Something would have eaten it by now."
We rummaged through the eggs and found one very old, very faded egg. "Here it is!" I held it up for everyone to see. Sure enough, an old battered egg that clearly had seen better days lay visible in the palm of my hand. Still, it took a few amazed and incredulous adults recounting the eggs to verify the count, before all were convinced. I remember everyone shaking their heads in astonishment and one of the adults trying to calculate the odds of this strange event. One lost egg found exactly one year later during another Easter Egg huntamazing!
In thinking back on this story, I may, to a very small degree, begin to relate to how the disciples of Jesus Christ must have felt when Jesus was resurrected from the grave. Imagine how terrified and alone they felt upon believing their Lord and Friend had been killedlost to them forever. Just like my Easter egg. But then finding him alive, returned from the grave so unexpectedly must have filled them with awe and wonder.
For many, it is just a storya good one, perhaps, but just a story. For those of us who are Christians, it is verification and vindication of God's acceptance of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for our sins. It is the embodiment of our eternal life. But it must have been much more for the disciples.
They lost Him, thought Him gone forever. For thousands of years the Messiah had been prophesied to the Jewish people. They knew who Jesus wasand then lost Him. Yet when He stood before them in His resurrected body, I imagine the astonishment, joy, and wonder washed over them like a tidal wave.
I hope all of us will look at the Resurrection of Jesus Christ a bit differently this Easter, especially when you see your children hunting for a lost Easter Egg. I know I do.
Luke 15:24 - For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
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