The Year of the Rooster

Christmas Memories 4

My mother was ill for many years and there were times when she looked for ways to lighten her load of responsibilities. One Christmas she decided that cooking a turkey was just too much work. Traditionally some kind of bird is required for Christmas dinner so she chose to buy a big chicken.

The day came and she put the chicken into the oven to cook while she prepared the rest of the meal. Everything looked wonderful, and smelled equally good as it sat on the dining room table waiting to be enjoyed.

The chicken was served. We took a bite of the long-anticipated feast.

Tough—as those proverbial nails; so tough that the bird was almost impossible to chew.

Was my mother annoyed!

That big "chicken" wasn't a chicken at all. It had been, in its former life, a rooster.

We struggled through, soothing mom's ruffled feathers as we gamely plowed through the meal.

Now I don't know what makes a rooster tough. I do know that there are even some hens that must be stewed, not baked. Some things don't do well under dry heat. They require liquid.

Is it that lifetime of experiences in the barnyard (or the pen) that determines how tough a bird gets? What might be true in the world of turkeys, chickens, and cattle, is true in the domain of mankind. A lifetime of experiences, depending on what those experiences might be, can determine how "soft" we are as we age.

The rooster can't do much about his toughness, but we can. Sometimes we need to let go of the past and leave behind those things which make us put up our guard, shut out certain people, allow resentment, bitterness and anger to characterize our lives. There are hurts that need to heal, things only God can remove so that our hearts and minds remain soft and open.

The year of the rooster was a good lesson for all of us. Spiritually he reminds me to watch my life so that I don't become "tough" as experience accumulates. On another level, he reminds me to always read the label.

The bird I just took out of the freezer to thaw for Christmas dinner is definitely "young turkey." I checked, honest.


  1. Very funny. Reminds me of a verse from Psalm 95 "Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts." Now, I'll think about being a tender chicken for Christ, not a sinewy, tough old rooster heart! :)


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