Monday, April 09, 2012

Holy Week boxes

Yes!  I finally got started on these today!  (After two years, so I'm excited, even if I forget to bring them the rest of the week.)

First, I read the delightful "Tips for Surviving Evening Services with Little Ones."  Then I revisited the Holy Week boxes series: 2010, 2011, and 2012.  Then I went shopping and didn't remember to take a list with me.

The kids and I went to Joann's.  Teddy was wet, so we had to take care of that.  Lucia freaked out and threw up because she couldn't get to me (in the cart, right next to me, evidently was Not Good Enough).  Then we wandered around and looked at things (while I cringed at the noises we were making, sure that everyone knew how mean and horrible I really am).  I found plastic grapes which were quite large and some wooden "doll pegs," but not much else.  I had come in thinking that I would just get some felt scraps or sheets and muster up some figures to illustrate the stories of Holy Week, but I couldn't think of any (except "We should have a sheep"), and kept wandering the aisles.

So we picked up a package of felt sheets with a diverse color scheme, and some pipe cleaners with same (enough of the right colors for sheep and people), and snagged the wooden doll pegs, and put the giant bunch of grapes back.  I remembered seeing some wooden boxes, so we went and got two of the treasure-chest type.  I found a small lion at the front and got that, too.  (Lion of Judah, lion lying down with the lamb ... it would fit somehow, and Lucia specifically likes the lion in the library puzzle and in our own Noah's ark, so that would be something quiet for her.)

Then we went home and I studied up on the themes for each service in Holy Week, quickly getting overwhelmed.*  I reviewed the list of items for the Holy Week boxes.  I really liked the site for "Great Lent, Holy Week & Pascha" and supplemented that with the paperback The Year of Grace of the Lord.**  Then I went to the bookshelves and pulled relevant books, and went to the icon bookshelf ... and stashes of icons that have either been put out of the way or are still unpacked and pulled relevant icons and some laminated ones that aren't necessarily relevant but are safe for Lucia.  I thought I had at least something for the Three Holy Youths for Holy Saturday (no), as well as something for the Parable of the Talents (no).  I kicked myself for not doing anything yesterday, because I do have a lovely book on Joseph, who was one of the themes from yesterday's Bridegroom service.  Then I scrounged around all the junk drawers and boxes of hastily cleaned up toys and shelves and places for oddments and found enough things to satisfy me for now.

Books: Tomie de Paola's The Parables of Jesus (library discard, forgot how I got it) and Helen Caswell's Parable of the Bridesmaids (found last year at Goodwill).
For the Bridegroom, I was thrilled to find a bookmark (I'd forgotten about these!) that I'd gotten at our previous parish's festival from the monastery booth.  (Laminated icons, hooray!)
For the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, I used two of those little battery-operated tea-lights that I'd gotten around Christmastime for Teddy's play-censer.  I kept the plastic insert in one (so it wouldn't work), for the foolish virgins, and took the other out (so it would work) for the wise virgins.
For the parable of the talents, I took three of the wooden doll pegs (debated dressing them up and having another one in fancier dress for the master, but decided that I should just go simply at the beginning), two dimes, two nickles, and one penny.

We got to church early enough for us to read both stories and have me explain most of the items to Teddy.  I don't know if he was particularly interested in any of them (but he did like taking them out and scattering them all over the pew before continuing to ignore them), as I was walking up and and down and in and out with Lucia.  I was able to lean over to him a couple of times and point out, "This is about the Bridegroom.  Where is your icon of the Bridegroom?" or "Do you hear them singing about the wise and foolish virgins?  Which lamp is for the wise virgins?"  Teddy asked many questions like, "Why did they not bring enough oil? Why did they bring enough oil?  Why is the Bridegroom coming?" which I hope to answer, but didn't even attempt to this evening.

I found that reading the stories of the themes for the service put me into a more restful state of mind: I was able to pick up on the themes of the hymns, and listen better to the parts of the Gospel I was able to hear, much better than if I had done no preparation.  This reminded me of my father's habit of reading the epistle and Gospel reading for Mass the night before as well as right before the service, and his explanation that it helped him pay attention better.

This is my first Holy Week with two kids, and it is Tough.  I'm glad I read through those "tips," as Teddy was mostly content to snuggle in the pew with his blanket and pillow while Lucia and I walked and walked and walked.  Lucia had a box, too, with three laminated icons, a peg doll, and the little plush lion.  She was interested in his things and had no interest in the lion.  He wanted the lion.  *sigh*  I so called that while they were asleep at naptime this afternoon, but there was less throwing than I had worried about.

I have plenty of things ready for the rest of the week, manipulatives/ephemera and books.  There are only two boxes, so I'm just throwing everything else into a bag and pulling the things I need for the next service as soon as I get a break after we get home from the previous service.  (I at least know I am liable to forget.)  I am hoping to find an icon catalogue that I'd given to my husband and persuade him to make use of our laminator.  (I forgot he'd already bought one, and found one and was so thrilled with myself for remembering to buy it... it was very disappointing to realize that I hadn't saved us from not having a laminator, but instead had purchased a second one.)

*First of all, this collection of icons is awesomesauce, and I'm so glad I bookmarked it when I found it.  I had no idea there were icons of parables and Old Testament stories, etc., before I saw these.  I liked the one with the parable of the ten virgins, and found a better picture of the one of the last judgment (sheep and goats).  I also loved finding this icon of the last judgment ("Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these...").  That said, I was sad that this was the only icon I could find with the parable of the talents.  I want a big colorful one!

Another thing I found in my internet hunt was this moving story about a college professor, doughnuts, push-ups, and explaining the Gospel of Christ in a meaningful way.

**I thought it was an exciting and noteworthy connection from this book, that I'd never thought of before: St. John was the only one of the Twelve who stayed with Jesus through His passion ... and the only one of the Twelve who was not martyred.  p. 179: "All except one had abandoned [H]im during the harrowing hours of Golgotha...  Peter and the other apostles will share, through their own martyrdom, in the Passion of their Master..."

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