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.
When you look around your church, what do you see? Does everybody look the same? Do you look the same as everybody else?
No, probably not, and that’s exactly what we hear about today in the epistle reading. Saint Paul tells us that we have to remember that Christians are Christians. We try not to find differences among us within the Church. He writes, “Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.” Lots of those words we might not know, but Saint Paul wants to tell us to stop finding differences among us within the Church . We are all one, together in Christ!
Now, look around your church again. You might know some kids who were baptized as Orthodox Christians as babies, and you might know another kid who was just baptized last week! You might know some poor Christian and you might know a rich one. You might know a Greek and you might know a German. In the epistle today, Saint Paul urges us all to stop seeing divisions within the Church community. Remember, he writes, “Christ is all, and in all!”
SAINT LUCIA: A SAINT WITH THE LIGHT OF CHRIST
In just a week or so, we will have the darkest day of the year. The days grow shorter and shorter and the nights grow longer and longer, all until December 21st, the day with the shortest daylight hours. Sometimes people start to feel sad during these long, dark winter days. Most people like being in the light. Do you?
We have another kind of light too, of course. It’s the light of Christ, and when we grow close to Christ, we can start to see real happiness and joy.
On Tuesday, we celebrate the feastday of Saint Lucia (or Lucy). Her name even means “light,” and she really was a saint who was close to Christ. Lucia lived in Italy, and she came from a wealthy family. She was supposed to marry a rich man, who happened to be a pagan (he worshipped idols). Lucia didn’t want to marry him, because she was a Christian and they didn’t have much in common. She wanted to spend her life growing close to the light, to Christ!
Lucia was punished for refusing to marry this man. She was even killed because she wouldn’t change her mind. But now, she lives in the light of heaven, with Christ Himself!
Christians all over the world love Saint Lucia, especially people in the country of Sweden. Winters are very long and dark there, and people celebrate with beautiful Saint Lucia parties and processions.
We celebrate the feastday of Saint Lucia on Tuesday, December 13th.
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