Christ: The Mother Hen

Christ: The Mother Hen

Christ: The Mother Hen 767 1024 Andrew Hicks

My wife and I are just in love with this new icon we found. It is by a female icon painter named Kelly Latimore.

This icon is called “Christ: The Mother Hen.” It is based, I presume, on the passage in the gospels where Jesus exclaims:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. [Matthew 23:37 NIV]

This icon and passage are meaningful to my wife, Hannah, and I because it is a part of our story. Be sure to look at her blog here on my website: “Dreaded Momma.” She has posted in part about her story there and you should totally hear her tell it in her own words, but I will share some of it in my words.

The icon in our living room: close up.

The icon in our living room.

We love chickens. We used to have upwards of 60 chickens at our home in South Carolina before moving to Texas. We would seek the eggs at a local fresh food market and to friends at Church. It was a lot of fun. I especially loved hearing the laying songs that the chickens would sing when they had laid an egg.

We ended up moving from South Carolina for a multitude of reasons, but one of them was that we had rushed into things so quick we got into debt and made some financial mistakes of epic proportions. So we had to sell off all our chickens. It was sad, but chickens had already clucked their way into our hearts and now we are chicken lovers. We still have various chicken themed paintings and other knick knacks around the house.

When we first moved to Texas we rented a small rental house on the edge of a farmer’s filed for about a year and a half. We were close to cows – which was fine, but they’re no chickens! And either way they were not ours.

Fast forward to late May/early June of this year and we moved out to rent a place from a couple from our church. They live out on 22 acres and have chickens, goats, and dogs. It is a dreamland for Hannah…. And maybe a little for me too [But don’t tell her I said that!!!]. The animals are still not ours, but we are able to be around them and feed them and watch them closely.

When we first moved here, Hannah and I saw a mother hen sitting on her eggs. After a few weeks of sitting, momma had two chicks that hatched. One of them did not make it, but one of them did. That chick is still scratching around with momma right now. In fact, as I type this I can hear it chirping outside my window.

We have watched this momma hen patiently care for her little chick. She has taught it how to scratch around and forage for food. She worked for about a week trying to teach her baby how to climb the tree that most of the chickens choose to roost in each night. And as a side note, the tree the chicken choose to roost in is right outside our dining room window. We love to eat dinner as a family and watch the chickens go up for the night. “Dinner and a show,” we like to say.

All this to say, this icon that we purchased means a lot to us. We both find ourselves staring at it and contemplating. It is very comforting to be reminded of Christ the mother hen. He has patiently taught us many things about surviving in this crazy world. He has protected us from plenty to be sure. And in moments of tender adoration we find ourselves safe and warm under the shadow of his wings and we know that we are loved. Isn’t that what it is all about?

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