Friday, March 25, 2011

A Very Special Solemnity of the Annunciation

Today, the Church celebrates the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her of God's plan for her, and when she said "Yes" to God's will. It is celebrated exactly nine months before we celebrate Jesus's birth at Christmas, because it pinpoints the moment of conception, when "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." What a powerful testament to being pro-life!

The Annunciation also happens to occur in early spring, when new life is bursting forth everywhere. I took these photos a few days before the first day of spring, but we seem to be having an early arrival of the season here (although it is not unheard of to have a random freeze in late March or early April in these parts!). These shots are some of the new life in our own backyard.

Then we have a new little life here within me, and I thought it would be special to tie in the miracle of new life on this day in particular. So we told the girls about the baby, that they are now both big sisters and would be able to see their new little brother or sister in September! We went to our parish's Friday evening dinner and Stations of the Cross today as usual, and we arrived a few minutes early so we could tell them there and then all go into the church, where Jesus is present in Eucharistic Adoration, and light a prayer candle for the baby.

Chris told the girls that we were going to light a candle for a new baby that has not been born yet but is with us right now. Both girls looked baffled, and he continued, "If it hasn't been born and it is with us, then where must it be?" Cecilia immediately responded, "In our tummies!" [We had been talking a lot about how this is the day that Jesus became human inside Mary's tummy, as a baby so tiny we wouldn't even be able to see him until he grew bigger.] Chris said, "Whose tummy would the baby be in?" I said, "Hmm, it couldn't be in Daddy's tummy..." and Cecilia immediately pointed at me and said, "In Mommy's tummy!" Caroline, meanwhile, was deep in thought, and several seconds after Cecilia went through this verbal realization, a huge smile spread across Caroline's face as she "got it." It was funny to see her stunned into silence! So both girls were excited and said a prayer for the new baby in the church before we had dinner and Stations.

Later, Cecilia told me, "The baby is in your skin, not on your skin, because I can't see it!" Ha ha!

Here's a photo of baby - er, my skin, that is, covered with clothing, and a baby under the layers. ;) This was about a week ago... now I am in the 15th week. I am wearing maternity clothes now, which I love. Call me strange, but I love being able to fit into them all of a sudden and appear to others to perhaps be pregnant! Plus, you can't beat an elastic waist for comfort once the regular jeans start tightening and digging in when you sit down! ;)

Here the girls enjoy their sugar cookies that we made for this solemnity. They are white, symbolizing the purity of Mary in the miracle of Jesus's conception within her womb. We also had Swedish waffles, since waffles were traditionally eaten in Sweden on this day as a celebration of the Annunciation. I read that even after Sweden became mostly Protestant, they still held this day in high esteem and continued to observe and celebrate it. Interesting tidbit. The waffles are sweet and full of whipped cream, so they make for a real treat, which is fitting for solemnities. Now, we fudged it a bit and had the waffles Thursday, the eve of the Annunciation, since we were planning to go to dinner at the church tonight.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Annunciation Day, full of new life!


Karen said...

You came up with such a great way to announce your pregnancy to your little ones.

Carrie said...

That was a very sweet time to share the news! perfect!
Their reactions were precious too!

Maureen said...

Yay! Such a cute story :)