Catholic Activity: Teaching the Immaculate Conception
Feasts always present a good opportunity for parents to catechize their children. Simply combine a celebration of some sort — perhaps a festive dessert or game — with an explanation of the significance of that day.
December 8 is the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and a beautiful story to be read in preparation for Our Lady' feast-day Mass is taken from the book of Judges. Gedeon, chosen by God to save his people from the Madianites, asked for a sign that the calling was true. Let the fleece he would put down on the threshing floor be filled with dew, he asked, and the threshing floor be dry; and in the morning it was so. Again he asked a sign. Let the fleece be dry and the threshing floor be wet; and again it was so (Judges 6:36-40). The Fathers of the early Church have pointed to this episode as a type — a prefiguration — of Our Lady's great privilege as the first one to be born filled with God's life after the Fall.
Nowhere on the face of the earth was there another creature whose soul was "full of grace." The Church Fathers further pointed out that because she accepted God's will for her, she became an instrument of restoring God''s life to all men through her Son. This was foretold in the second episode when all the earth about the fleece was filled with dew. The great Mass of the Immaculate Conception is a thanksgiving in honor of Our Lady, the human parent of the state of grace — God's life in us.
Activity Source: Homemade Christians by Mary Reed Newland, George A. Pflaum, Dayton, Ohio, 1964