Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Here are some simple ways to celebrate the day with your children after Mass and after explaining the doctrine, in age-appropriate terms:
—Take a break from Advent purple, Christmas red and green and make it light blue day! Cover your kitchen table with a light blue tablecloth, and have your centerpiece be a depiction of our Blessed Mother in some way or form. Do a little reading about how Mary under the title “the Immaculate Conception” is patroness of the United States. Encourage devotion under this name. What qualities of Mary could our country use at this juncture in time? What virtues of hers can we personally emulate? How does she try to lead us to her Son?
—Decorate cupcakes with light blue icing. If you want to save time, buy muffins at the grocery store, some pre-made frosting in a can and add just a drop of blue food coloring. Let the kids do the decorating (let light blue sugar sprinkles finish it off) while you read the Magnificat to them or pray it together.
My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
—Pray the rosary, and remember the joyful mysteries. The very first mystery about Mary is the mystery of her Immaculate Conception. God chose a 100% human mother to give birth to His Son. And she was preserved from original sin. That is truly amazing! Coloring pages that commemorate this feast can be found many places on the internet. I find them a bit confusing to little children since children sometimes can’t immediately tell if the pregnant woman is Mary pregnant with Jesus or Saint Anne pregnant with Mary. Some moms feel all you need to do is explain it. It’s your decision.
Make a rosary. Knotted rosary instructions are here: http://www.rosaryarmy.com/wp-content/themes/mimbo2.2/images/rosaryinstructions1.pdf Making the tie rosaries really isn’t that hard. Once you get the hang of it, you can make them while watching TV, traveling in the car, waiting at the doctor’s office. Not that you have to, but it does help pass the time when one is forced to wait somewhere. Some moms like to pray the rosary while they make one. Tie a knot. Say a Hail Mary and think of the appropriate mystery. Tie another knot. Say another prayer. And so on.
You can also make a candy rosary (a big hit with children—use any small semi-soft candy-like chocolate covered raisins or jellybeans. A cross can be constructed of licorice. Thread it with fishing line or quality sewing thread. ). Make it, pray it. Eat it. Or, construct or a paper rosary- either with paper “chains”, or cut out construction paper “beads”, glued to a white poster board.
Last, here’s something fun and easy to do with your girls: Make a hair bow to celebrate the feast! Start with a laminated holy card. You can also use an old calendar or card picture and laminate it yourself or cover it with clear contact paper. I’ve chosen a holy card.
You’re going to cut it. (I forgot to take a picture before I cut it- hence the slice in the middle.)
You can use blue ribbon and craft glue to fashion a bow and attach it to a typical hair tie. Or, you can do what I did and use a pre-made one. You’ll simply glue the cut, laminated picture to the piece.
Turn the holy card over and trace with a black marker the place you want to cut. You can cut out any small shape you want. I’ve cut out a heart. Let the girls use glitter glue to highlight the halo or Mary’s gown.
Let it dry and you’re ready to go!
A variation of this is to glue one small piece of velcro to the bow instead of the cut-out holy card picture. Glue the “mate” of velcro to the other side. (You can purchase the velcro pieces in sewing or craft stores). Then, have fun with many different holy cards and colors. Your daughter will can change the image with her outfit or according to feast days! If you’re going to do this you might want to use a white bow and tie.