Celebrating the Annunciation

Throughout today we've been remembering the Solemnity of the Annunciation in our own unique little way.  
This is one of my favorite days in the Church.  So overlooked but really, this is the day we remember the mind blowing mystery of the Incarnation...kind of a big deal, right?  The day when the Word became flesh.  When the God of the universe humbled Himself to not only be a cute little newborn baby but a zygote, an embryo, a fetus.  It's enough to make non-believers laugh out loud.  But enough to make the true believer fall to her knees in awe.  God with us.  Emmanuel.

And all because one little girl said 'yes'.  

The course of history was changed by a woman.  and the salvation of the world came through one little Hebrew girl.

I wonder how Mary must have reacted.  Shock, ecstasy, fear, joy...maybe all of them.  Did she expect it?  Did she know she was different?  

We talked today about Mary's fiat and how we can say yes to what God asks of us and how we can make our life one big yes.  We practiced our 'yes' expressions and our 'no' expressions.  The boys got a kick out of that.  (One little boy of mine is especially vulnerable to a general 'no' towards life and this was very good for him.)  As we talked about making our lives a 'yes', we realized that the song "Trading My Sorrows" was perfect for the occasion and that even when things are hard we can still say 'yes' to what the Lord asks of us.  It was pretty darn neat to discuss with them how some people we know who have scary or painful things to live with are still able to make their lives a 'yes' and are some of the most joyful people we know.

To be sure, the mode d'excellence of observing the liturgical year is within the rites of the Church - celebrating the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, reception of the Sacraments, and traditional prayers of the Church, etc.  But it's pretty sweet when we can add our own little traditions in there as well to help us live more fully in time redeemed and in doing so help pass along the truths and joy of our Faith to our children.

And so we do that here with popcorn.  Some mothers are exceptional at planning teas and stories and elaborate parties for every feast day (and that is so cool).  My gift lies in taking something very simple (or often something I was already going to do anyway :) and imparting meaning to it.  

Like popcorn.

See?  Popcorn. 

I was pretty proud of myself a few years ago when I came up with my catechesis via popcorn:

"Just as the pure white popcorn hides the tiny seed from which it came,
so our most pure Mary hid the tiny Baby Jesus within her womb."

Bam.  Incarnational teaching via afternoon snack.  And how cool that the kernel is Jesus, which gives life to Mary who then hides the Jesus kernel inside!!  So simple yet the boys love it and it's become our little Annunciation tradition.

Some of our other little Annunciation goings on for today:

Stromboli and chicken wings for dinner...why, you ask?  We're all about 'hidden' things on this day to show how Mary seemed ordinary but was hiding the greatest gift inside her womb.  The stromboli looks like ordinary bread but inside...pizza!  Score.  And the wings?  For Gabriel, of course.  Leave it to a Buffalo gal and her friend (thank you, Kate!) to impart Theological meaning to chickens wings.  I really hope the great archangel doesn't mind being compared to a poultry appendage.  And for that matter, that the Queen of Heaven doesn't mind being played by a stromboli.

Using seeds to show how tiny our Lord became but yet was still God.  I put some sesame seeds on the stromboli but there are a gazillion ways you could incorporate seeds as symbols.  Hey, poppyseed muffins for breakfast!

For dessert we enjoyed some of these decadent Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate cookies.  I subbed whole wheat flour and used carob powder instead of cocoa because it seems the babe and I are just too sensitive to chocolate.  I know.  I KNOW.  Anyway, there are so many different recipes out there for cookies or muffins hiding a treat inside.  I realized afterwards that it would be even cooler (or nerdier?) to put some sort of fruit filling inside a muffin or cookie...get it?  Blessed is the FRUIT of your womb!  How bout that?

Last year I served the boys eggs in the hole for breakfast which was a great idea.  Except they won't eat eggs that way so it's more than a little silly to make them and then get frustrated because they don't like them.  But still a cool idea!  Eggs incorporated in any way is pretty symbolic of the new life in Mary's womb.

One of the things I love about the liturgical seasons and celebrations of the Church is that it invites us into such a deep connection with the Mystery of Christ, His life on earth and His permeation of history.  I love how as a universal Church we can set aside certain days to remember different elements of the Christian story and become ourselves impregnated with that story.  There is an endless supply upon which to meditate within the life of Christ and the lives of the saints and for a person like me, the liturgical year offers an invitation to focus on small portions, to pray on them and hopefully be transformed by them.  And sometimes it's with popcorn.


  1. ok so you are one of those moms that are exceptional at planning meals for feast days. Awesome job!!!

    1. I guess I didn't convey all that well how simple it was which was my point! Seriously...throw popcorn in a paper bag in the microwave, that's about as technical as I get for snacks :) And there are definitely times and seasons where I barely even mention that it's a certain feast let alone plan anything. I like taking the normal easy things and turning that into something meaningful rather than stressing myself out by going elaborate. And if I can turn pizza into Theology, well I'm grateful!


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