By Ruth DuCharme
published in Family Matters eNewsletter, April 20, 2017
On the Saturday before Easter, our Highland Hills children hunt for Easter Eggs. Yes, this occurs on the day tradition calls Black Saturday or Dark Saturday in remembrance of a Savior who lay dead in a dark stone tomb. While we want to teach our children the truths about Christ’s death and resurrection, we also remember that young lives aren’t quite ready to carry such a heavy burden.
This year’s hunt began as most do. Carol and I arrived about 9:00 a.m. to begin the set up, thankful for a beautiful rain-free day. We opened the glass doors to the courtyard, set up tables, and gathered supplies. Around 9:30 a.m., our egg-hiding helpers arrived, and the work of spreading eggs across the grounds of our church began. More volunteers arrived to prepare the snack, complete with the traditional iced sugar cookies and pink lemonade, set up the craft activity, and greet participants.
Families began to arrive, and the courtyard filled with many familiar and unfamiliar faces. The mixture of participants included our own Highland Hills children, their friends and family members, and guests who found their way to us through our many community connections. The atmosphere was filled with the laughter of children eager to begin the hunt and adults enjoying good conversation. In the chapel, our staff shared songs, a brief Easter message, and gave away a family prize basket. The children were so eager and excited that they could hardly contain themselves. Their joy was contagious. Finally, it was time to hunt for eggs.
My job is to take the children in first through sixth grade to the lawn in front of the sanctuary. This age group hunts not only for candyfilled eggs but also for the coveted Golden Egg! It is quite a competition as our children are very serious about being the winner of that gold egg. This year was no exception and, after much searching and several clues, the egg was discovered and HHBC Egg Hunt 2017 came to an end.
As I began to make my way back inside the church, I noticed a young visitor walking alone. His other family members were hunting eggs in the preschool area, so I walked with him to help him find his family. We found them in the courtyard, and I introduced myself to them. I don’t think I have ever met two children so gracious and happy to be a part of our Easter Egg Hunt. With great delight, they showed me the eggs that they had found, shared the most gentle hugs with me, and thanked me for letting them be a part of this event.
Through more conversation, I discovered that this family had some great needs. Frankly, they were hungry. The adult with these children didn’t know if there would be lunch for them as they made their way home. They never asked for anything, but those of us around them could sense their need. The wheels were set in motion. Highland Hills folk who were present gathered what food they could find and prepared a sack for them. Another drove to Kroger and purchased gift cards so there would be food to tie them over until other arrangements could be made.
I left Highland Hills later than I usually do after our egg hunt, and I left with a warm feeling in my heart. Warmed by a family who had come in search of Easter eggs, yet found more – they found acceptance, love, and provision. I was warmed by their gratefulness, and I was warmed knowing that those precious children wouldn’t go to bed hungry on the night before Easter. I left recommitted to the command of Christ that calls us to serve the
least of these. May we all be in search of more.