Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Apple & Balloon

Our last class of the year covered December stuff: Immaculate Conception and Nativity scenes, mostly. We also talked about the transition from the Old Testament to the New, and got in a few minutes about John the Forerunner's miraculous conception.

For the last few years I've had a couple of girls portray this image, which I treat as the Great Hinge between the Testaments:

Yeah, I know, I show it in class every year around Christmas, and here at the blog. So what? It's a first-class catechetical tool, loaded with theological content like the work of Northern Renaissance artists such as van Eyck.

Anyway, the kids don't see the pic 'til we've discussed the content with our live models. This year, instead of saying, "Hey I need an Eve, get up here daughter...I need a Mary, yes, c'mon up," I did this:

"OK y'all I need two girl volunteers...two! not eight! And you aren't a girl! If you've already acted this year put ya hands down. Just one of you is left? OK daughter, you're it, come on up." I reach into my canvas bag. "Here, this apple's for you. Who is she? Eve! Yes, smarties! One more girl...NOT ALL OF YOU! Daughter, today's your birthday right? 12 years old on 12-12-12? Yes! OK, birthday girl gets the job!"

Now I pull out...a balloon?...and blow it up 'til it's about canteloupe size. "Here ya go, put this under your sweater like so. What's it for? Can y'all figure this out? She's pregnant! Ewww! Ewww! Ewww? Babies are great! Your mommas were pregnant with you! It's too weird! That's OK, you don't have to do it...who wants to be the pregnant woman? Me! Yes, c'mon up...there ya go. Who is she? Sarah! Good guess, but no. It's someone in the New Testament. Elizabeth! Ooh, great guess again, but no. Mary! Yes, and who's in the balloon? Jesus! Yes!" And from there we have the usual discussion followed by the image handout and more discussion. I like it better with the props, because then the kids can figure out, instead of being told, who the women are.

Couple of cartoons from class, similar to those in prior years:

Pressed for time during the Nativity discussion, I forgot this bit of Isaiah: A multitude of camels shall cover you, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD; and thus left the camels out. But I remembered in 2010: