Last April (2022) one of my brothers started keeping honey bees. If memory serves me correctly, he began with six hives (colonies). Last summer he harvested about five and a half gallons of honey. Today, his apiary now has sixteen hives and we harvested a little over 200 pounds of honey, which yielded about 19 gallons! A friend also brought honey from his hives and we processed an additional 7 gallons for his family.
There are so many blessings that come with a day like today, not the least of which is harvesting such a delightful food as honey. It was a day spent with family and friends, enjoying nature, each other’s company, and the many hands made light work of all the different tasks needing to be done. In many ways, our collaboration matched the work of the bees.
Honey bees symbolize much of the Christian life. Their life is short and spent for the sake of the hive. Bees are hardworking and industrious and work together for the common good of the hive. From the scouts that find the sources of pollen and nectar, to the worker bees that gather it into the hive, to those that feed the young and the drones that protect the queen. They are peaceable, except when they are attacked.
Their hardworking not only serves the hive which produces the sought after honey, but their labor also serves the broader food cycle as well. Much of the food we eat relies on pollination, and that is the work of the honey bees. Without them, our food supply would be greatly threatened. Honey bees have much to teach us about hard work, serving the community and working together for a common purpose. Perhaps this is one reason they are symbols of wisdom and strength, all in a delicate design.
One of the greatest Christian symbols we all are familiar with is the Paschal Candle which is made from the wax of bees, the light of which represents the Risen Christ.