Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Annunciation of the Theotokos

Too busy following the normal progression of Lent, I nearly missed the fact that this Sunday, the Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt is trumped by the Annunciation of the Theotokos! Whoops!

Apolytikion (Fourth Tone):
Today marks the crowning of our salvation and the revelation of the mystery before all ages. For the Son of God becomes the son of the Virgin, and Gabriel proclaims the grace. Wherefore, we also cry out with him, "Hail, O full of grace, the Lord is with you."

Readings: Hebrews 2:11-18; Luke 1:24-38

For the little ones: The dove serves as a symbol of the Holy Spirit and is used often in paintings of the Annunciation to represent Mary conceiving a child by the Holy Spirit. Combine this with some Russian tradition and we have a fun project!

In Russian tradition, believers would release birds from cages to signify freeing oneself from the power of sin in order to pave a way to heaven. So, here is our project for the Annunciation: pick up white, helium filled balloons for each member of the family. Help your kids to color bird faces on them and tape wings to the sides of the balloon. Then, take your family outside and release the 'doves' into the air while reading the gospel passage of the day. With your older children, follow up with a discussion on the significance of the Annunciation.

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