Presvytera Alexandra Houck created The Children's Word bulletin so children will know they are not only welcome in church, but even more, an essential part of the Church family. She hopes the weekly bulletin will be just one more way we can make kids feel at home in church. Presvytera Alexandra is a graduate of Duke University and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Her husband, Fr. Jason Houck, is a priest at St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis, MN. Presvytera Alexandra and Fr. Jason have three small children: Lydia, Paul, and Silas. Presvytera Alexandra grew up attending Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Asheville, North Carolina with her nine siblings.
Do you have any friends or relatives who live far away from you? Do you visit sometimes or talk on the phone? Maybe you wish they lived closer to you so you could be together more!
In the Gospel reading today, we hear how our Lord also wants His friends to be with Him! We read how a man throws a big party, and He invites lots of people. The problem is that nobody comes to it! They all give excuses. They all say they are busy with something else. But the man still wants to have his party, so he invites even more people. He tells his servant, “Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.” The master (Who is really God) wants His friends to be close to Him. He wants His house to be filled!
So, just as we might miss our friends or family when they live far away from us, our loving Lord misses His children too. He wants us to help Him, too. We can be like the servant in the Gospel story today, inviting other people to be close to the Master too. Sometimes we can invite people with words. But we can always try to be good Christian examples so others will want to know more about our Lord. Remember, God wants all of His children to be close to Him!
DANIEL AND THE 3 HOLY YOUTHS: FAITH—NO MATTER WHAT!
Have you ever traded something you had for something you wanted? Did you trade a toy that you had for a toy a friend had? You give something, and you get something.
Sometimes we might think we can trade something with God too. We might think that if we pray a lot, or we do something for Him, God will always give us what we want. Maybe we think we can trade what we do for something that God does. But that’s not how it works, is it? God is ready to help us, but He does what He wants, when He wants, and how He wants.
Today we remember Daniel and the Holy Youths. Do you remember hearing about them during Holy Week? They are the boys who were supposed to bow down and worship the idol of the king. But they only worshipped God! Why should they worship the idol of the king? When they refused, they were thrown into the super-hot fire.
If you read the story from the Old Testament, you’ll find that these boys never made a deal with God. They never said, “We’ll pray, and you’ll save us.” They never told the king that God would save them from the fire. But they knew they only worshipped God. They had faith in God—no matter what!
We celebrate the nameday of these saints today, Dec. 17th (Dec. 30th, OC).
Photo credit: Lonny
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