nuCamp has deep roots in the Amish community with many of our production team members being Amish. Our founder Joe Mullet also grew up in the Amish community. This post is written by Reuben Shetler, a purchasing agent at nuCamp, sharing the story of how his family celebrates Easter.
“The eggs are ready!” My 7-year-old son Johnny burst through the door.
“Oh, good!” I said. I turned to the rest of my family. “Johnny’s done hiding the eggs. Are you ready to go search for them?”
We grabbed our coats and dashed out the front door. An Easter egg hunt is always exciting, especially with little children. I had hidden Johnny’s egg first, then he hid the rest of them. Now the hunt was on.
We spread out across our 4-acre property, searching. The eggs were real chicken eggs we had dyed the evening before. Dyeing the eggs was simple. My wife had filled coffee cups with water, then put in a tablespoon of vinegar and a dash of food coloring. She spread a dozen hard-boiled eggs out on the table. My three children gathered around, their eyes sparkling. Three spoons eased their respective eggs into the coffee cup of their choice. A few minutes later the eggs were scooped out again, and set on a newspaper. A red egg came out, then a purple one. The next one was blue. A green one joined the colorful array. Bright yellow. Hot orange. “It looks like a peacock nest!” Four-year-old Luke declared.
Now, at long last, it was Easter morning. “I’ve hidden them so well, you’re never going to find them,” Johnny boasted. “Especially not you, Dad!”
Hmmm… Maybe he was right. I searched the flowerbed beside the house. I peered into the birdfeeder. I checked the sandbox. No sign of that blue egg with my name printed in black marker.
“Here’s mine!” yelled Luke triumphantly. He crawled out from under the rabbit hutch, holding a yellow egg. Johnny found his red one with ease, among the flowers in the rock garden. My wife found her orange one perched on the woodpile. Then she helped two-year-old Kristina retrieve hers out of the rhubarb patch. Kristina pranced around, quite proud, holding the purple egg with her two hands. “Egg!” She showed it to me, her eyes dancing. “Egg!”
“Yeah, but where’s mine?” I scratched my head. I had circled the house, barn, potato patch, and swing set, to no avail. “I’m almost thinking it hatched and flew away!”
“Can’t find it, huh, Dad? Can’t find it?” Johnny danced around me.
I threw up my hands. “No! I give up. Where is it?”
Johnny shot me a mischievous grin. “Look around, Dad. Where would an egg be hiding?”
I looked around the lawn, and my gaze fell on the Polywood bluebird house mounted on the fence of the horse pasture. Ah, ha.
A confused bluebird flew out of the nest as I approached. I lifted the sidewall of the bluebird house, with Johnny behind me, giggling with glee. There, in the nest, were four little blue eggs, and one big blue chicken egg.
We, as an Amish family, do not talk about the Easter bunny this time of year. But we do hide Easter eggs. To us, the egg represents new life, and new birth. Finding the hidden Easter egg is symbolic of finding the most significant thing of all, our Savior Jesus Christ.
Remembering Good Friday
The story begins, not on Easter Sunday, but on the Friday before. This is Good Friday; the day Jesus was crucified. On this day, we Amish fast and pray. This is a solemn day as we remember the pain and suffering of Christ.
Good Friday is a day of redemption. The Son of God gave his life for fallen mankind. We humans have fallen far short of what God created us to be. Intended to glorify Him, we have become distracted along the way. We have been tempted to serve ourselves, rather than Him. We have slipped, stumbled, and fallen flat on our faces. God, in His mercy, saw we were powerless to help ourselves. We mere mortals needed divine help to reconcile us to our perfect Creator.
On Good Friday, we remember that God himself came to Earth as a man to show us how we should live. After leading a selfless life, He was murdered by those who hated Him. With His death, Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of all of us who have let Him down.
Celebrating New Life
Easter Sunday is a day of resurrection. This is the day of new life. All Christians recognize this as the most significant day in history. After spending three days in the grave, Jesus emerged alive! He had defeated death. He had proved it had no power over Him. Now all mankind who lays their sins on the cross and crucifies their self-will with Him can be assured that they, too, will rise again. We will have a new life in Jesus. We have a fresh start and can start over in a life where we seek to serve God, not our selfish nature that we have now buried within.
Forty days after Easter, we Amish celebrate Ascension Day. This is the day the resurrected Christ returned to heaven. He had gathered with His disciples on the Mount of Olives when suddenly He rose into the air. As He disappeared into the clouds, two angels appeared behind the men. They spoke to the disciples. “This same Jesus who you saw vanish into the clouds, will return again in the same manner someday.”
Ascension Day is a day of expectation. Again, we fast and pray. We think about Jesus coming back to take us to our home in heaven. We long for His return. We rest in quiet assurance, knowing the story of new life is complete.
On Easter Sunday, my family heads back to the house, each of us holding our colored treasure. We sit at the kitchen table. We crack open the eggs on the edge of the table and peel off the shell. Then we eat the cooked egg within, sprinkling salt on the yolk.
“Daddy, why do we hide eggs on Easter, anyway?” Johnny asks me. I look at the wondering eyes of my three little children. I feel a sense of reverence at the opportunity to pass the story on to the next generation.
“Eggs represent new life,” I begin. “Let me tell you the story of what God did for us long ago…”