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.
Have you ever given one of your presents away? Maybe you didn’t like it in the first place, or maybe you thought a friend or a family member would like it even more than you did.
In the epistle today, we hear what Saint Paul says about giving away our gifts. Should we do it? Of course! That is exactly why God gave these gifts to us. The gifts Saint Paul is talking about are our spiritual gifts. We know that God let some people be “apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers.”
Those gifts—teaching or preaching, helping others in some way or another—aren’t for us! God wants us to give those gifts away, so that we can “build up the body of Christ.” That means that we can use our gifts to help others and to help the Christian church grow.
Our beloved Saint John Chrysostom once said that very thing! When we get one gift and another person gets another gift, we can’t be jealous and we can’t think we’re better than somebody else. God wants us to give these spiritual gifts away—to help others! Can you think of something you are good at, and can you think of a way you can give that gift away?
THE LITTLE BROTHER: SAINT PETER OF SEBASTE
What would you do if your older brother or sister grew up to be really famous? Would you be jealous? Would you wish you could be that way too?
Saint Peter (of Sebaste, in the country of Armenia today), was the youngest brother in a big and holy family. His older brother was Saint Basil the Great. (You know him!) Saint Peter has lots of holy saints in his family, but for some reason, we don’t hear too much about Peter. But that isn’t because he didn’t do anything important!
Just as we learned in the epistle today, when God gives us a spiritual gift, we can use it to help build up the church of Christ. And that is just what Saint Peter did. He helped his older brothers with their writing—and we still read Saint Basil’s and his brother Gregory’s writing today. Saint Peter helped his mother and his big sister start a convent for holy women—and lots of people grew closer to God because of his work. And later, Saint Peter became a bishop, and he helped the people know the right way to worship God. Sometimes helping is just as big a deal as doing it all yourself. And that’s how we remember Saint Peter of Sebaste!
We celebrate the nameday of Saint Peter tomorrow, January 9th.
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