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 five small children: Lydia, Paul, Silas, Philip, and Sarah. Presvytera Alexandra grew up attending Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Asheville, North Carolina with her nine siblings.
Now that Christmas is all over, are you tired of thinking about presents? Today’s epistle reading tells us about a different kind of present— a gift that Christ gives to each of us. The epistle says that our Lord, Jesus Christ, gives each one of us a gift—not one that you can use for a few weeks and throw away, but one that you use for your whole life. It is a gift that we use to help God’s church!
Let’s listen to the epistle. “And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers.” Some of those words you might not know yet, but the epistle tells us that whatever gift God gives us, whatever we do with our lives, we do it so that we can “build up the body of Christ.” That means that whatever we do, we do it so we can help others grow closer to Jesus Christ.
Sometimes people think that if you love God very much, then you should definitely be a priest, or you should become a monk or a nun or a teacher. But that’s not what the epistle tells us today. We all have different gifts, and God wants us to use them to share His love with other people.
Do you see what the Saint Paul tells us in the epistle? Each one of us has a different task for our life. But each one of us also has the SAME task—to help others grow close to our Lord!
SAINT NINA OF GEORGIA AND HER CROSS OF VINES
Think for a minute about your country’s greatest hero. Is it George Washington riding into battle on his horse? Is it somebody else who helped save the country?
This week we will celebrate the feastday of a great hero from the country of Georgia (a country with Russia to the north and Turkey and Armenia to the south). Saint Nina lived long, long ago, but the people of Georgia have never forgotten her. That’s because she brought Christianity to their country, and the people have kept the Christian faith ever since. That’s 1,700 years…and counting!
Saint Nina had a cross made out of vines, which she brought with her everywhere. She carried her cross and taught the people about Christ. With God’s help, she healed many people with her cross. Once, the queen of Georgia was very, very sick, and the Christian people brought her to Saint Nina. When the saint prayed to God, the queen suddenly got better. She wanted to be baptized, and later her husband, the king, was baptized too.
Once the rulers became Christians, the faith really took off in Georgia. Saint Nina is called the “enlightener of Georgia” because she brought the light of Christ to this country!
We celebrate St. Nina on Monday, January 14th (Jan 27, OC).
Welcome to “The Children’s Word,” a weekly ministry of the Orthodox Christian Network. Each week, Presvytera Alexandra Houck writes this little newsletter for young parishioners! You will find age-appropriate articles, stories, and activities in every edition. The newsletter is provided in PDF format so that you can easily download and print it, and share it with your parish, church school, homeschool, family, and friends.
Each issue includes a message on the Sunday Gospel lesson and on one of the saints for the week. You’ll also find a coloring page and other activities. It is designed for a 8.5 x 14 page, so it can be printed and folded.
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