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 had trouble finding the perfect Christmas gift for somebody? It’s hard to find something that would really fit somebody perfectly.
Today is the feastday of the Nativity, the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ! In the Gospel reading, we hear how when
the wise men came to worship the baby Jesus, they brought Him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Is that the kind of present you would give to a new baby? Probably not!
But these three gifts really were the perfect gifts for our Lord, because they have extra special meanings behind them! Why did they give gold, frankincense, and myrrh? Well, one of the saints of our Church, Saint Irenaeus, explained just why! Gold was for Christ, because He is King. The incense was given because He is God. (Remember, we use incense when we worship God.) And the myrrh reminds us of how Jesus would die for us. People would put sweet-smelling myrrh on the bodies when they had died. (Remember the myrrh-bearing women?)
These three gifts really were the perfect gifts, because they show just who this holy baby, our Lord Jesus Christ, was!
MARY, THE MOST HOLY THEOTOKOS – WHAT’S A SYNAXIS?
Have you ever played a little game, “What does it make you think of?” When you say a word, the other person has to think of a word it makes him think about. So, if you heard “dog,” you might say “cat.” If you heard “king,” you might say “queen” or “crown” or “throne.”
When we think about Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ, we can’t help but think about one other person, too. Who?
Well, Mary, the Mother of God, of course! Today, we celebrate the Nativity, the birth of Christ. But tomorrow, the feast continues! We celebrate His mother.
In our Church, we call it the “synaxis” of the Theotokos. That word, synaxis, means “coming together.” For many, many years, faithful Christians came together to celebrate some more. They came together to honor the person who made that day happen. We love Jesus’s mother very much, and we honor her so many times during the year. We remember how she did what God wanted her to do—how she held God inside of her, how she took care of Jesus as a child, and how she stayed with Him, even when He died on the Cross.
So, today, when we think of what Christmas means, who else does it make you think about?
We celebrate the feastday of the Synaxis of the Theotokos, tomorrow, Dec. 26th.
Photo Credit: Father Julian’s Blog
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