HENS AND CHICKS (Sempervivum)
Hens and chicks are one of my favorite plants. The larger plant, the hen, is surrounded by miniature replicas called chicks. Each chick is attached to the hen by a delicate strand. When the hen matures, a flower grows from its center. My hens flowered for the first time last summer. The flowering process is amazing. From the top of the central stem, smaller stems grew and produced tiny flowers. While the flowers formed above, the leaves below continued to open wider and wider. Eventually, the hen died, leaving the chicks to continue the cycle. The botanical name, Sempervivum, means forever lives. This plant does live on forever, through its babies.
It is easy for me to imagine a mother hen spreading her wings protectively over her brood of chicks, covering them as a storm approaches or darkness descends. It is an image of comfort, peace, and love. As a parent and grandparent, I longed to scoop my children (grandchildren) close, protect them, comfort them through their fears, and reassure them with my love.
“I longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” (Matt. 26:37).
What a great image and reminder that God longs to gather us close too. He wants to protect, comfort, shelter, and love us! He is better than a mother hen. He repeatedly says, “Come.”
One of my favorite verses says: “I have loved you with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself.” (Jer. 31:3). When I get discouraged, overwhelmed, or stressed I can recall these verses and remember that God wants to gather us to Him. All we have to do is take that first step closer to him and he will gather us close, drawing us to himself.
A life reflected …
The hens are replicated in the chicks. We can have a life that reflects Christ.
A life eternal …
Hens and chicks, Sempervivum, “forever lives”. We are invited to let Christ live in us and through us, reaching out and touching others. Jesus Christ lived and died so we can live for eternity.
I look at my Sempervivum and offer a prayer of gratitude.
How about you? Is there a thought, a hope, a prayer brought to your mind when you see the plant hens and chicks?
I’d love to hear your story.