Catholic Activity: Annunciation Tableau
The ideas for an Annunciation Tableau can be applied throughout the year, but particulary in Advent, the feast of the Annunciation and on St. Gabriel's feast day, September 29. This was written to accompany the Ember Wednesday of Advent. The Mass for Ember Wednesday in Advent was referred to as "The Golden Mass," also Missa Aurea. This Mass has now been transferred to the Fourth Sunday of Advent.
The students at Grailville offer some interesting suggestions for a re-enactment of the Gospel story of the Annunciation:
As at Christmas, the Nativity is simply re-enacted in many Christian homes, why not on Ember Wednesday in preparation for Christmas re-enact the Gospel of the angelic message of Redemption? No scripts are needed, no elaborate costume, no long rehearsals. The family or group could gather together and in a prayerful spirit simply relive the words of the Gospel. The play could be in two parts: (1) Prophecy and (2) Fulfillment.This little tableau could easily be performed either at school or at home in the evening.
The first part is the reading of Isaias from the (Lesson and Epistle of Wednesday) morning's Mass prophesying the virgin birth of Jesus Christ (Isaias, 2: 2-5 and 7: 10-15). This might be done to illustrate the foreshadowing of the advent of Christ in the Old Testament. The song "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" could be sung as an interim. In the next part of the presentation the fulfillment takes place. As a reader speaks the words of the Gospel (Luke 1: 26-38) Mary is seen praying in her chamber, and the angel appears to her. The play could be concluded with everyone singing "A Rose Sprang Up Unheeded" or another Advent song.3
As dinnertime approaches, it is often difficult to find an appropriate menu for a fast day. This need not be the case for this Ember Wednesday, for we recall that on the feast of the Annunciation the Swedish people serve excellent waffles. We could anticipate the Vaffeldagen by about three months and make a fitting fast day repast. It would be more than we could expect to be able to use the little heart-shaped irons which Swedish ladies have to make the waffles an even more enticing delight.
After dinner, with the singing of the Magnificat and the "O antiphon," we may teach the children the last great Advent psalm, number 18 since it fits in so perfectly with the Mass of the day. The Introit of Ember Wednesday and the fourth Sunday of Advent both employ this beautiful psalm:
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims the work of His hands There He has set up His tabernacle for the sun, which goes forth like a bridegroom from his chamber and rejoices like a giant, to run the course. From one end of the heaven is its rising, and its course ends at the other, nothing is hidden from its heat. — Frey translation
Activity Source: True Christmas Spirit by Rev. Edward J. Sutfin, Grail Publications, St. Meinrad, Indiana, 1955