Twelve years ago our family began to travel to a beach town in Northern Mexico on the Sea of Cortez. At the time we lived in Southern Arizona so the town of Puerto Penasco was an easy drive. It was on these vacations that we began the search for Sand Dollars and it was always a race to be the first to find one. Now we have a large collection at home. Three years ago I learned that there is actually a legend about the sand dollar. Now that I know what the sand dollar actually represents I have an even deeper appreciation for them. And, and even bigger desire to find more. We are on vacation right now and the beach is abundant with sand dollars. Our first morning out, we found 12 of them!
The sand dollar is a visible way to see God through His creation. The sand dollar is a flat looking burrowing sea urchin. It lives on the floor of shallow sandy waters along the coasts of the ocean. The urchin is washed up on the beach and bleached by the sun.
On the top part of the shell you can see the center is a star. This star represents the Star of Bethlehem that led the Wise Men to the manger when Jesus was born. Around the star is the outline of the Easter lily, which is a sign of Our Lord’s Resurrection.
At the edges of the star are four holes and in the center another hole. These holes remind us of the wounds the Lord suffered on His hands and feet while on the Cross.
On the back side of the sand dollar you will find an outline of the Poinsettia, the Christmas flower.
Finally, when you break open the sand dollar, five “doves” appear. These doves represent the Peace and Joy of Christmas. There are always five doves inside the sand dollar.
Here is a poem by an unknown author about the legend of the Sand Dollar:
The legend of the Sand dollar
That I would like to tell
Of the birth and death of Jesus Christ
Found in this lowly shell.
If you will examine closely,
You’ll see that you find here
Four nail holes and a fifth one
Made by a Roman’s spear.
On one side the Easter Lily,
It’s center is the star
That appeared unto the shepherds
And led them from afar.
The Christmas Poinsettia
Etched on the other side
Reminds us of His Birthday,
Our joyous Christmas tide.
Now break the center open
And here you will release
The five white doves awaiting
To spread good will and peace.
This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me.
To help to spread His Message
Through all eternity.
I love the act of finding Sand Dollars even more now that I can attach a meaning of the Love of God to them. I love that God gives us physical reminders of His presence and practical ways we can share Him and His story with others.
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.