New Testament Lessons

The Annunciation  

The Life of Jesus

Luke 1

Children’s Illustrated Bible p 186; Family Story Bible p 156; The Beginner’s Bible p 266

Background

Surprisingly little is known about Mary. She was a young, Jewish girl living under Roman occupation and betrothed to Joseph. Girls born to poor families were often abandoned and left to die either at birth or as small children; they could also be sold as slaves. Both Roman and Jewish laws forbid this practice and yet it went on. The practice led to a shortage of marriageable women (age 12 or older) so by this point in her life, Mary would have been a valuable commodity. Her father would ask a bride price for her. A man who had saved money for years would pay the bride price and the couple would be considered betrothed. Such marriages could be arranged through a matchmaker, or between the groom and a male relative of the bride. Often when the betrothal took place, the girl would go to live with members of the man’s family until she was of age to marry.

During the betrothal, a woman could be dismissed by the groom. If she was dismissed for cause, the money would be returned to the groom. If it was simply his whim, the woman’s family would keep the money already paid. Upon learning of Mary’s pregnancy (Matthew 1) Joseph’s decision to “dismiss her quietly” might indicate that he was compassionate and generous, willing to forfeit the dowry he had paid.

The “Magnificat” of Mary has as its root Hannah’s prayer in 1 Sam 2:1-11. Hannah, more closely resembles Elizabeth than Mary. Like Hannah’s son, Samuel (who went to live with the priest Eli as soon as he was weaned), both John and Jesus were dedicated at the temple and went on to prophetic ministries.


Discussion

Note: Before doing the reading, look at pictures of Mary and angels from art and discuss what the children know about Mary. Then begin the activity, giving the glue time to dry as you read the story so you can complete the details at the end of class.

Many of early artists like Giotto painted on wood panels or wet plaster. Byzantine artists made icons with paint and gold leaf. Look at images of the annunciation, Mary and angels from art. (Sister Wendy’s – need to make sure there are some books on the shelves.)

What do you know about Mary from the Christmas pageant?

Who are the characters in the story in the pictures? How does Mary look? How does the angel look? How is the Holy Spirit represented in the painting?

How did Mary feel when she learned that she would have a baby who be son of the most high and his kingdom will have no end?

Activity

Decoupage Icons

Step 1. Distribute pieces of chipboard, wood shingles or foam core. Draw an outline of an angel or of Mary. Use a mixture of Elmer’s Glue and cut out pieces of tissue paper and gold foil to paint shapes onto the chipboard.

Step 2. After the piece is dry, use metallic markers and sharpies to outline details.

 

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