In conjunction with the great and holy feast of the Annunciation, I like using the analogy of a magnet to communicate the message that the Lord was "with" Panagia. A magnet has the ability to attract, with great strength that which it is drawn to. But it also has the potential of repelling that which it does not want.
For Orthodox Christians, the Theotokos (Mother of God) by exercising her God-given discernment, repelled all doubt and distraction from the evil one, and clung to the will of God instead. In this way, she reversed the curse of Eve, and made possible the incarnation of God. Yes, God had a plan for mankind, but He never forced it upon anyone. We offer praise and our thanksgiving to Panagia because she made the choice that we all strive to imitate. Could it be that her "yes" was made possible through the numerous divine virtues she had attracted? (patience, humility, faithfulness, courage, chastity, gratitude, wisdom and ultimately love for God)
We can look to the upbringing and lifestyle of the Theotokos to understand just how God prepared her. Growing up in the Temple, and more specifically the Holy of Holies, she heard the divine Scriptures daily, and praised God with hymns of doxology from a young age. Dedicated in purity and virginity, she was focused on pleasing God rather than her peers. Even her activities were holy, for she like other young maidens, would spend their time sewing the curtain for the Temple. (We see the Panagia holding yarn in some icons of the Annunciation) In all things, she was attached to God!
Now, the tough question to ask ourselves:
What sort of magnet are we?
Experiment with small magnets to attract and repel various items.
Try to connect the results to our faith.
Metal Spoons & Cookware = our love of food
Computer Tower = time using technology
Coins (won't stick) = symbol of wealth
Keys = Our ideal cars, or the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven?
Lastly, consider how a compass works with your kids and teens. Ask yourselves: In which direction is our needle drawn? Does our path lead to God and His Kingdom? If we see ourselves and the needle of our compass unsteady, may we cry out to the Mother of God for her help and intercessions before God, so that we too may respond to His call with courage and say, "be it unto me according to thy word" - St. Luke 1:38
"Today is the beginning of our salvation,
The revelation of the eternal mystery!
The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin
As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace.
Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos:
Rejoice, O Full of Grace,
The Lord is with You!"
Troparion (Tone 4) of the Annunciation