It is not Christmas, but today that marks the day of our Lord’s incarnation! It is all because Mary said “YES!” that our Lord entered into this world as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, fully God and fully Man.
I find the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord a beautiful feast to celebrate with my children, as it helps to begin the discussion about the sanctity of life. Even at their young ages they are able to understand the value of a person from the moment they enter into this world all through our celebrations throughout the day.
The children woke to the dinning table dressed in blue and adorned with picture books awaiting perusal this morning.
In Sweden, the Feast of the Annunciation (or Lady Day) is known as Vaffeldagen (Waffle Day) since they serve waffles on this day. Swedish waffles are usually made on heart shaped waffle irons, but any type will do. ~Catholic Culture
In keeping with tradition, we began the day by enjoying waffles for breakfast. Lingon berries, the traditional Swedish topping, are hard to come by around our parts so we settled for Alicia’s Mary cupcake toppers instead. And while we did not have a heart shaped waffle iron , the children didn’t seem to mind as they thought they looked rather festive and tasted delicious with maple syrup.
We then moved on to reading about Archangel Gabriel’s message to Mary in Tomie DePaola’s Book of Bible Stories and worked our way through Leading the Little Ones to Mary‘s little talks. (This book is a gem. It is a gently laid out series of conversations to hold with the preschool aged child all centered around the life of Our Lady and the formation of the faith from a lovely Catholic nun. Such a sweet book!)
After listening to the readings, we then discussed the Hail Mary prayer since the words we pray are those of Gabriel himself:
“And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” ~ Luke 1:26-38
While my daughter has long since memorized this prayer, my son is still learning. To help him along, today I introduced Elaine’s Hail Mary sequencing cards.
He really enjoyed manipulating the cards to the correct squares along with the help of this coloring sheet which stated the words of the prayer below each depiction.
Once he correctly matched all of the cards to the appropriate squares, he was rewarded with being able to color his page!
For my daughter, while she did not need help on memorization, she did need some additional cursive handwriting practice. Having finished her handwriting workbook just a few days ago, these handy Hail Mary copywork sheets from That Resource Site were a perfect substitution of her handwriting lesson for the day.
Once her handwriting was completed satisfactorily, she then took delight in coloring in her own coloring page. This coloring sheet from St. John the Baptist Catholic Church was reminiscent of the illustrations in Tomie DePaola’s Book of Bible Stories and that of our re-purposed calendar page, which I thought was a nice touch to our day.
She did notice that there were some differences between the three illustrations, so once their coloring was completed, we then took a virtual field trip to explore the many artistic compositions of the Annunciation that have been created over the centuries.
Utilizing all of the resources from The Text This Week, we were able to browse chronologically through the different schools of art from various artists. The children had a wonderful time with this picture study and loved being able to spot which angel was Gabriel by looking for his trumpet!
Depictions of the Annunciation also usually show St. Gabriel the Archangel handing lilies to Our Lady. Mary is often represented by lilies, and the Madonna Lily, named for her, is often called the Annunciation Lily in honor of this Feast and is a perfect ornament for the day. The Venerable Bede (A.D. 672-735) described the translucent white petals as symbolic of Mary’s pure body, and the golden anthers as a symbol of the glory of her soul when she was taken up to Heaven at the Assumption. ~Fisheaters
After seeing Gabriel holding lilies in multiple pictures, the children grew quite hungry as lunchtime was approaching. Using sandwich bread, cream cheese, cucumbers and carrots, I was able to transform these ordinary lunch items into St. Gabriel’s trumpets for lunch!
Just before communing together for the noon meal, we paused to pray the Angelus together. This prayer to Mary is thought to be one of the first hymns of the church:
The Angelus Domini, shortened to “the Angelus,” is the ringing of the church bell — in three groups of three chimes with a pause in between each group, followed by 9 consecutive strokes — at 6AM, Noon, and 6PM roughly, and its associated prayers, which spring from the monastic practice of praying the tres orationes at Matins, Prime and Compline. While the monastics said their prayers at the sound of the Angelus Bell, the faithful would stop what they were doing and say 3 Hail Marys in honor of the Incarnation. Later, since at least A.D. 1612, verses were added to these Hail Marys such that we get the form of the Angelus we have today. ~Fisheaters
Happy Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord!