Our family raises laying hens.
We don’t breed them. We simply raise them. We take care of them, water them, feed them and let them roam the yard… and in return, they produce fresh eggs for us (and our friends).
Earlier this year, we got 2 new young chickens (the kids named them Lava & Sonic) to add to our existing 3 hens (Bowzer, Sexy-Boo & Dinner). My kids and I handpicked them. And though they weren’t the little LITTLE fuzzy chicks you are picturing (they were a bit older)… they would have a year of growing in front of them before they started laying.
Now… it’s difficult to tell the gender of a young chick (unless you’re a professional chicken sexer)… but within a few months, Lava was almost twice the size of Sonic. Brian turned to me and said… “I think she’s a HE. I think Lava’s a rooster.” But other than being bigger, there weren’t any other signs yet. I was hoping Lava was just a big girl.
Fast forward to a month & a half ago. Lava started crowing.
We don’t live on a farm in the country. We live within city limits… with neighbors… that we like. We tried to give Lava away. To our surprise… no one wanted her… er… him. So, Brian and I decided we’d slaughter our chicken.
To be honest, I was a bit heartbroken. I DID pick Lava out myself, after all. I was mostly afraid of how our kids would react to the news.
They ended up being more “fine” than me, but it provided some great conversation about what sacrifice looks like.
We talked about how in the “old” days, this was how people put food on the table. They raised their own, they hunted, they scavenged. We talked about how people would pick the best in the litter, raise them as pets, caring for the “chosen” ones better than the rest, then offer them up as a sacrifice and offering to God.
And then, we talked about how Jesus came and became the living sacrifice for us so we don’t have to do this anymore.
Slaughter day came. So did the day we made him up for dinner. And as I was prepping him for the crockpot, I thanked God. I thanked Him for:
… never leaving us hungry.
… always providing shelter.
… a family I never thought I’d have.
… love and grace I still don’t fully understand.
… able bodies and minds to work.
… the privilege of relationships.
… sacrificing Himself on my behalf.
and finally… for the life of our rooster, Lava, that reminded me not to take anything for granted.