Nativity of the Theotokos




  1. Children should know that Mary is the Theotokos and her parents were Joachim and Anna.
  2. Children should recognize the figures in the icon and be able to tell the story of the Nativity of the Theotokos with their icon picture.
  3. Children should learn that icons are not just pretty pictures, they show us a window to heaven.


Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.


  1. Tell the story of the Nativity of the Theotokos using the icon in your classroom:

Long ago, in the land of Israel, there lived a righteous couple named  Joachim and Anna.  They were descended from the great Jewish kings, David and Solomon.  But there was one thing that made Joachim and Anna very sad  – they were very old and had not been able to have any children.

Among the Jewish people, a family was worthless if there were no children.  Remember the stories in the Old Testament of Abraham and Sarah and of Hannah and her son Samuel.  So, Joachim and Anna were very sad.  But they loved God very much and went every day to the Temple to give gifts.  Finally, one day, the Temple servants refused to accept their gifts and told Joachim and Anna that they were cursed since they could have no children.

            Anna cried and went home.  But Joachim was so sad that he went out to a mountain.  There he fasted and prayed for forty days.  At the end of the forty days, God sent an angel to Joachim and Anna.  The angel had wonderful news: even though they were so old, they would have a baby girl.  And this little girl would be the one spoken of by the prophets many years before – the one chosen by God to be the mother of His own Son.  The angel told them to dedicate the daughter to the service of God.

            And so, Joachim and Anna had a baby girl and named her Mary.  And Mary is known to this day as the Theotokos – the Mother of God.  We remember Joachim and Anna every liturgy when the priest names them for us at the very end.  Listen for their names next week in church.


This story can also be found in the lovely booklet by Sister Elayne, “The Nativity of the Theotokos”.


  1. Feed the Elephant/True or False:

True                                                     False

Mary’s parents were Joachim and Anna.        Mary’s mother was named Elizabeth.

God sent an angel to speak to Joachim.          Joachim and Anna had many children.

Mary is the Theotokos.                                   Theotokos means friend of God.

Nativity means birth.                                      God spoke to Joachim in a bolt of lightning.

On the Nativity of the Theotokos, we              Joachim and Anna named their baby Naomi.

            celebrate the birth of Mary.


  1. Craft idea: copy the icon picture onto heavy paper and cut out Anna, Joachim, and each Mary with nurse on the heavy lines.  Have the children color the figures and the background: Anna with a blue robe and white hair, Joachim with white hair, Mary in her traditional deep red.  Use glitter to color the haloes gold.  Then the children can use their icons as puzzles, naming each figure as they are placed in the icon. They can take home the “puzzle-icon” to use this week in their icon corner.


  1. Bake a cake the night before.  Let the children decorate it and put candles on it.  Maybe blue icing or blueberries, to remind the children that blue is the color for the vestments for feasts of the Theotokos? Then have a birthday party for Mary.


  1. End with prayer.