Monday, September 5, 2016

The Nativity of the Theotokos

Shoebox Ark of the Covenant:
paint gold and glue on skewers, draw cherubim wings with sharpie

Inside paint a wooden square for the law of Moses,
glue a stick and flower to a wooden disc for the rod of Aaron,
and paint a wooden spool as the jar of manna

I used the Children's Garden of the Theotokos curriculum to plan this lesson for our church school kids for the Nativity of the Theotokos. I love an excuse to make a craft for the kids, so I made this ark and its contents and hid them away. I meant to print icons and paste them on, but my printer was out of ink, but I like how the drawings turned out. I found several nice comparisons of the scriptures about the Ark of the Covenant and the Theotokos, and simplified those points into a lesson plan (embedded below). I'll first teach about the Ark and its contents, and then show how those are types of Mary and Christ. If you don't want to make an ark, the coloring handout below communicates the same points.

I taught this lesson to my kids before, without the fancy ark, but the comparison of the OT scriptures with the visitation was new to me. I love how David's dancing foreshadows the Forerunner leaping for joy! And I had never thought about how the presence of the Ark blessing the people is similar to the way we understand the grace of God to work through his saints. This lesson could be used for several of Mary's feasts (or during Lent for teaching about the Akathist Hymn). But I think the point about David welcoming the ark with joy fits nicely with the feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos as we welcome her birth with joy.

On the back:of the law of Moses,
an icon of the Transfiguration (Christ the Word, fulfills the law and prophets);
On the back of the rod of Aaron, an icon of the Annunciation (the Virgin birth);
On the back of the jar of Manna, an icon of Christ, the Bread of Life

On one side of the ark, an icon of Panagia Platytera, (or More Spacious than the Heavens)
showing Christ in Mary's womb.
Grab and color this handout that explains the ways that the ark is a type of the Theotokos!

[Quick update to add this page of matchbox covers! My smart husband thought that matchboxes would make a sweet and inexpensive craft box for the kids to cover. We'll color them then modpodge them on in class. I think this would be sweet for matches in the prayer corner, too!]

Print page of matchbox covers - don't scale to fit!

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