David Isaacson of Fargo, N.D., has an eye for eggs. Ceramic, stone, wooden, etched, paper, painted or plain, the retired pastor has been collecting and giving away eggs at Easter for 17 years. It started when he wanted to give a gift to the organist and secretary at his former church, Verona (N.D.) Lutheran.
“It was getting close to Easter, and I found two nice eggs and put them in baskets,” said Isaacson, 74. “I thought it was kind of fun, and I thought, ‘I’ll just keep doing it.’ ”
Today, Isaacson estimates he has given away 5,000 eggs over the last five years since he’s been keeping track. This year, he has set aside 500 to give to worshipers after Easter services at Pontoppidan Lutheran Church in Fargo, where he and his wife Marilyn are members.
“On Easter everyone is invited to take an egg from one of the many baskets I will set up,” he said, adding that another 70 will go to members of the Kiwanis Club of Fargo and 30 to family and friends.
The act of selecting an egg on Easter Sunday offers busy church members a moment of reflection. “They kind of linger at the door as they look through the eggs,” said Doug Klungtvedt, former pastor of Pontoppidan. “It slows them down and helps them to remember the Easter celebration a little.”
“I’m reminded of the resurrection”
Collecting eggs is an enjoyable quest for Isaacson, who visits thrift shops, yard sales, discount stores and anywhere else he thinks he might come across one that is nicely shaped or decorated. Some cost just cents, while his most expensive egg is crystal and cost $44.
“I’ve got people on the lookout for eggs,” he said. “They call me if they see them. I also have a store that sets aside any eggs they have.”
And it warms his heart to receive eggs from parishioners at his former congregations in Maine, New York and North Dakota.
Likewise Isaacson’s gift brought joy to Jen Gompf, president of the Kiwanis Club of Fargo, who received a pink ceramic egg last year. “When he gives it to us, he tells us about how it symbolizes new life,” she said. “It’s just such a kind gesture.”
With Easter approaching, Isaacson will soon find his collection depleted. But he’s already on the lookout for next year’s eggs. “Once Valentine’s Day is over, the stores [start] bringing out the eggs,” he said.
While he enjoys the hunt, Isaacson never loses sight that the egg is a reminder of a joyous event in the life of the church and its members. “For thousands of years the egg has been a symbol of life,” he said. “I see that meaning extended into the life of Christ. When I see my eggs, I’m reminded of the resurrection.”