Today is the Second Sunday of Advent. The first Sunday of Advent is usually represented by the word HOPE, and the second Sunday is typically represented by the word PEACE. And what a peaceful scene this ornament lays out for us.
This ornament is the 9th in the Nature's Sketchbook series, by artist Marjolein Bastin, who is internationally known for her detailed, delightful drawings of nature. It shows a hen who has converted an old plant pot into a cozy nest. There, she waits in peace for her brood of chicks to hatch. She may, in fact, be almost done with her confinement, as one of her little chicks appears to be nearby, looking in at her.
It is a certainly a fact that peace is required for the gestation and hatching of baby chickens. Interestingly, the mother hen is so absorbed in the care of her developing eggs that she will forgo most of her own upkeep, sacrificing her food and appearance for the sake of the eggs, only leaving the nest every so often for food and water. This is a big change from the almost constant foraging that occupies hens most of the time. Hens may lose weight and the brightness of their feathers often disappears as well, as they wait for the chicks to hatch. They will pluck out a few of their own feathers for the nest and hunker down, giving their body warmth to the eggs. Farmers often have to keep a close eye on a broody hen, just in case something goes amiss.
A hen will sit on her eggs for about 21 days, the normal length of time it takes for chicks to develop and hatch. Just think about that - not moving much from her clutch for about three weeks. During this time, she and her eggs need to be relatively undisturbed. If she is disturbed due to predators or other environmental problems, the eggs won't develop. Sometimes, the hen forgets about eggs that didn't hatch, but other times, she keeps looking for them, not moving out of the "broody" stage without intervention.
We all need peace. If you can, try to attend a morning or evening of reflection this Advent, some private, away time to help you develop those areas that need new life. We may not be able to take three weeks off to focus on new growth, but let's not let the Advent invitation to seek peace go completely unheard and unheeded.
This blog page is a slightly different type of Advent calendar. Using ornaments, Scripture and poetry for reflection, we journey through the 28 days of Advent 2022 to Christmas morning, and the Incarnation of Christ.