Mary's star path

All journeys unfold through a changing landscape. They are times of expectation, of preparation, and – for a mother – the journey towards birth is no exception.
During Advent we recall the path along which Mary journeyed, carrying her Heavenly Child. This path can unfold for the younger members of the family as a very different kind of Advent Calendar, developing and preparing the mood for Christmas, and allowing expectation to grow gently day by day through the children’s own involvement.
A pathway of stars leads Mary towards the stable. As she journeys, the scene changes imperceptibly from Advent into Christmas, until, at last, on Christmas Day the Child is

The first task is to find a place to build up the scene. A table or chest in front of a wall would be suitable, or the floor could be used if there are no very small children or pets in the house.  Christine uses a deep, shelf built into a niche by the side of the fireplace, the shelf is about lm long and the wall space behind is 75cm high.

You will need:
A few sheets of newspaper
Large piece of dark-coloured plastic
Blue cloth (ultramarine/royal blue) large enough to cover the table or shelf and part of the wall behind
Gold card 40cm x 25cm
Some pieces of bark and small logs for making a stable
Mary and Joseph crib figures (see p210)
Collection of natural objects: stones, crystals, masses, small flowering or evergreen branches, dried flowers, pot plants and fir cones
Small animals made from wood, wool, pottery/ wax or plasticine

Protect your furniture or carpet first with a few sheets of newspaper covered with the sheet of plastic. Spread the blue cloth over the plastic and fix part of it to the wall behind. lf the wall surface makes this difficult, stand a large sheet of cardboard or thin plywood against the wall at a slight slant and pin the cloth over it.

At the far side of the scene improvise a stable with pieces of wood and bark. The construction may be covered with a blue or brown cloth if preferred.

Cut stars from the gold card. Use the pattern below and cut out four stars, one for each Sunday in Advent. Count the weekdays in Advent (the number varies from year to year, see page 171) and cut a smaller star for each weekday.

Lay out a ‘star-path’, winding in towards the stable. As Advent starts on a Sunday, the first star (furthest away from the stable) is one of the four large stars. Six small week day stars follow, then a large star again and so on. The last star (Christmas Eve) lies in the stable. The path shows a very clear picture of the four weeks in Advent.

On the first Sunday of Advent the crib figure of Mother Mary stands on the first star and then moves day by day along the path of stars towards the stable. Every family, or class of children, will find their most suitable time each day for gathering around the star-path and moving Mother Mary, this could be in the morning or afternoon, or before bedtime.

Christine’s family begin by lighting a candle and singing a song (see p177). During the song an adult very gently and slowly moves Mother Mary from one star to the next. The star from which Mary has moved is put up in the, sky, behind the stable with some double-sided adhesive tape, (kept ready in the hand of the adult who moves Mary and star).

As the days pass the path becomes shorter, the sky becomes bright with stars, and the scenery around the star-path grows more beautiful. In the first week stones, pretty pebbles and crystals of varying sizes are placed around the stable and path. During the second week plants are added, moss appears around the stones, flowering branches surround Mary on her way. Animals appear in the third week, and maybe some little shells. Finally, on the fourth Sunday of Advent, Joseph stands in the stable waiting to welcome Mary.

This is an appropriate time of the year to remember the Days of Creation (December 24th is Adam and Eve Day) and what better way to do this than to travel with Mary through the four kingdoms of Nature, allowing each to enrich our Advent experience!

When Christmas arrives, earth and sky are filled with beauty and are ready to receive the Child when He appears.

Hawthorn Press, UK


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