Title: Archangel Gabriel and Illumination
Subject: The Annunciation to the Theotokos by the Archangel Gabriel
Age Group: 8+ years
Liturgical Time: March 25
Begin by asking the youth if they have ever heard good news about someone they know. Ask them about the basic details:
- Who was the person, how did they know them, and what was the good news?
After everyone has had a chance to answer the questions, ask them if they have ever heard good news about someone that they do not know. This question doesn't require detailed answers, but ask them:
- Do you get excited about the good news about the person you don't know? Why do you think you felt different about the person that you don't know?
Invite one of the young people read Luke 1:26-38:
"Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!' But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.' Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?' And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.' Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.' And the angel departed from her.'" (Luke 1:26-38).
Ask, "What is the Good news?" It is that Panagia will give birth to the Son of God.
Invite another youth to read Luke 1:46 & 47:
"And Mary said: ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.'" (Luke 1:46-47).
Then ask, "How does the Theotokos respond to receiving the good news?"
Explain to the young people that the Theotokos was filled with joy because she knew Who the Son of God is! She knew Him because her entire life had been spent in His presence at the Temple, and every moment of her life had been in prayer speaking with
Him. Just like we rejoice on hearing that a good friend is visiting us; we know that person and are close to them!
Ask the young people if they have ever been in a movie theatre and then gone outside into a bright sunny day. Invite them to explain the experience to you. You can then tell them it is the same way with the Spiritual life, if we spend our life in the light, the brightness of God is a joy; but if we have lived in darkness and the shadows we will be unable to enjoy the light!
We are filled with joy when we see a friend or we hear good news about a friend, we are illumined. In fact in the English language we hear the expression that a person's face lit up! The Panagia was illumined by the Holy Spirit because she had spent her entire life in the presence of the Son of God, Who Gabriel had said would be born of her. Likewise, we are filled with the light of God when we stand in His presence at Church, in prayer, and are filled with His light when we receive Holy Communion.
Prepared by Micah Hirschy