Easter in autumn seemed rather strange when I first came to New Zealand from Scotland. I was used to Easter being in Spring Time; with daffodils by the sides of the road, blossom on the trees and newborn lambs frolicking in the fields. Images you see in Easter cards. Signs of new life and hope, that are associated with Easter. But, when I moved to New Zealand, Easter was different. Of course, being in the Southern Hemisphere, Easter is in autumn. A time when it is getting colder and darker and we know winter is approaching. I found this very difficult to associate with Easter. But, recently I have found a few promises of new life, and symbols we can associate with Easter here too.
Easter in Autumn: Promises of New Life
As soon as the acorns start to fall my children love to collect them. When I looked at them recently I was struck with how similar they were to an Easter Egg. The little acorn not only contains a promise of new life, like the egg, but can also be used to symbolise the stone being rolled away from the tomb. Acorns could easily be used to make an Easter craft of decoration.
The whole family was out in the garden pruning at the weekend. Over the summer our plants have rather taken over the garden so we cut back quite a lot and had a huge pile on the trailer to take to the dump. While we were working I realised that this was also a symbol of the promise of New Life. We prone back the plants because we know that they will grow again. Though things may not look that great now, we know it is for the good of the plant and the garden, and that it will look much better come spring time.
While we were pruning my husband noticed the caterpillars had moved from the swan plant (which had self-seeded from last year’s plant) on to a yukka plant. We then noticed a couple of chrysalises. I’m not sure that this stage of the life cycle is particularly associated with autumn, but for me it was another symbol of the hope of new life.
I’m beginning to realise that, if you look closely, there is a lot to associate with Easter at this time of year. No matter which hemisphere you are in. In the Northern Hemisphere the signs of new life are obvious and immediate. Here in the southern hemisphere we may have to look harder, using our knowledge and previous experience, to see the promise of new life when the more obvious signs may be telling us that winter (and death) are approaching.
This taught me a great lesson about life. As a Christian I believe that no matter what season you may feel that you are in there is always a promise of life in Christ. Whether you are blooming like spring flowers, falling like the acorn, being pruned, or going nowhere like the chrysalis there is always hope.
Happy Easter – where ever you are, and what ever season you are in!
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What symbols do you have for Easter in your customs and traditions?