Lamb of God takes away the cares of the world

This is the day they roast lamb as a symbolic offering, as the old ancient ways meld in communion with the new, the roasting of the lamb connecting them, celebrating the feast to come.

The lamb is for roasting, but the older animal, the sheep, is such a perfect creature that it gives us the perfect fiber. Wear cotton while walking on a mountain and become trapped in a rainstorm, and you might die of hypothermia. But wool, even when wet, retains heat and keeps you warm.

There are wool blankets at our home that my grandmother made years ago, great thick blankets, almost as heavy as rugs, still a tad itchy but warmer than anything. One is green, the other red. The blankets are about all we have left from her.

She and the other women of the village would take the shorn wool and spin it into thread, dye it and run it through a loom. They'd make those blankets by hand in the house at night, a kerosene lamp for light, the children sleeping, the men at the coffeehouses, the women still working. All the women had in those days was hard work in the fields and church and children and tending their homes.

Even their relaxation involved labor, like the making of those warm and beautiful blankets.

On Sundays like this one, they'd work even harder because guests would soon arrive on this very special day. The men would be outside, tending the coals, watching the lambs, perhaps drinking Retsina, staring into the fire.

And then, as on this Sunday, when guests arrive, husband and wife and children come forward to welcome them into the home and offer a special greeting. If they're Greek Orthodox, these are the words they say:

Christos Anesti.

Christ is Risen.

To all of you who celebrate today, Happy Easter.

jskass@tribune.com

Twitter @John_Kass

CHICAGO

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