Friday, November 26, 2021

Angels - Advent Waiting through Baking, First Week of Advent

Here is a little background as you prepare to bake angel cookies with your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or students.

Angels are messengers from on high, from the divine realm. They are sent by God. We can read of their presence throughout the Old Testament, (Gen. 3:24, Gen. 22:11-15, etc.). We know of them in the New Testament beginning with the Archangel Gabriel's mission to the Virgin Mary. Mary was asked to be the mother of the Son of God. (Luke 1:26 - 37). 

We know that between Mary's acceptance of God's plan for her, "I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word," (Luke 2:38) and the birth of Jesus, there was a period of waiting. Joseph the husband of Mary was also visited by an angel in a dream, Matt. 1:20 - 21. Joseph and Mary waited together for the birth of Jesus.

We are waiting, too. It is the first week of Advent, 2021, and we are waiting for Christmas, the solemn feast of the birth of the Son of God. It is a time of excitement for children. and also a time to teach them the true meaning of Christmas. This period of waiting for adults is meant to be a time for spiritual renewal, a time to reflect, and recall the waiting of our spiritual ancestors, the Jews, and the fulfillment of the promise by God(Gen. 3:15) that a Savior would be born that would crush the head of the evil one. The birth of Jesus is the fulfillment of that age-old promise. For children it is a period of learning the true meaning of Christmas while experiencing many enjoyable activities.

Baking with angels is the perfect start to Advent 2021 with children. You may choose to share the story first of the Archangel Gabriel's mission to Mary by explaining it in your own words, or going directly to St. Luke's Gospel, or finding a children's book and reading the story to them. Or you might bake angel cookies first and then tell them the amazing story of Gabriel's mission to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Choose the way that suites the age(s) and backgrounds of the children.  At the end of this post are some suggestions for books you might find helpful. 

Here is a picture of an angel cookie cutter and the first recipe we are using. I recommend large cookie cutters for young children. It will be easier for them to try a cut-out and definitely a bigger cookie is easier for them to decorate. If you don't have time to make a recipe you can always use a sugar cookie mix. The most important part is to share the story of the Angel Gabriel's mission to the Blessed Virgin Mary telling her of God's plan for her.  

Have fun making the cookies. Eat a few. Share a few and save some for Christmas! You can put the cookies in the freezer, and looking forward to hearing more of the Christmas story while we wait for Christmas day.





 Here is the link to the recipe I used for the cookies  that I baked. Pictures are below. The recipe is easy, tasty, and the cookies hold their cookie cutter shape.

Sugar Cookie Recipe

I did not have a large cookie cutter like the one here. I used two different sizes. See below. The small angel cookies I sprinkled with decorating sugar. I knew they were too small for anyone to ice or frost. To frost you may use store-bought frosting. It is very easy with young children and then let them decorate with colored sugars, sprinkles, and different colored frostings. For older children, fondant is fun to use. You simply roll it out and then use your cookie cutter to cut out the fondant. With a tiny bit of milk, you put a drop or two on the backside of the fondant and then gently press it on the angel cookie. You can buy decorator tubes to make eyes and a smile like the angel above, even hair and a heart! The older the child the fancier the decorations. I love a simple lemon icing glaze on my sugar cookies. Here is a link for  Lemon Icing Glaze or if you like a butter cream frosting here is a recipe for Butter Cream Frosting

Sugar Cookies Sprinkled with Decorator's Sugars

Unfrosted and Yummy Sugar Cookies

Prayer to Saint Gabriel the Archangel

Blessed Saint Gabriel the Archangel, we
beseech you to intercede for us at the throne
of Divine Mercy:

As you announced the mystery of the
Incarnation to Mary, so through your prayers
may we receive strength of faith and courage
of spirit, and thus find favour with God and
redemption through Christ Our Lord.

May we sing the praise of God our Saviour
with the angels and saints in heaven forever
and ever.

Amen

Books for Children 

Below are links that will take you to books that include the story of the Archangel Gabriel appearing to the Blessed Virgin Mary with God's plan for her. Click the link to take you to the website where you can order the books. Some of them may also be found on Amazon.


https://www.orderosv.com/product/children-s-mary-bundle

https://www.ignatius.com/Search.aspx?k=My+First+Pictures+Christmas

https://www.ignatius.com/Search.aspx?k=Mary+Mother+Jesus

https://www.ignatius.com/The-Catholic-Bible-for-Children-P1594.aspx

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Stained glass is often used in churches to illustrate biblical stories, where the natural light illuminates the characters and scenes. This design of the Angel Gabriel can be found in the church of St James in Pangbourne, Berkshire. It was produced by Karl Parsons, a member of the Arts and Crafts Movement which sought to raise the importance of craftsmanship.

HAPPY BAKING!