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 wanted to go somewhere, but when you got there, you found it was closed? What a disappointment!
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear the story of a woman who had been crippled for 18 years. She couldn’t straighten up her back for 18 whole years! Well, the Bible tells us about many, many people whom our Lord, Jesus Christ healed. Usually, the sick people cry out for Jesus. “Have mercy on me!” they might say. But in this story, we read that our Lord called out to her instead. He wanted to heal her, to make her better, so He did!
Lots of people were angry at Jesus then. He had broken a rule—He had done work on the Sabbath day, and you were supposed to keep that day holy. You were supposed to rest on that day. They told the people to stay away if they wanted to be healed. They said, “There are six days on which work should be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” Really, they wanted to put up a “CLOSED” sign. They wanted to keep the people away.
Our Lord is always ready to call out to us, to help us. He never puts up a “CLOSED” sign. When we want the Lord to listen to us, pray to Him, and He will be open for business!
THE POPULAR SAINT: SAINT NICHOLAS THE WONDERWORKER
Who doesn’t love Saint Nicholas? This wonderful saint is the patron saint for many countries (including Greece and Russia), for cities, for travelers, and for fishermen and sailors. So many children are named after him, especially in Orthodox countries. How did he get to be so popular? Why do people love him so much?
The funny thing about Saint Nicholas is that we don’t know too much about his life. He was a bishop, and he went to the first great meeting (the first Ecumenical Council) of the Christian Church. But still, we don’t have anything today he might have written or said.
Most of us do know the story of the three poor young girls. Saint Nicholas helped them by giving them money so they could get married and have happy lives. Saint Nicholas had compassion on these children, and he asked God to help them. Even today, Saint Nicholas is a special saint for children. Your parents might pray to him for you, and you can pray to him too!
One prayer to Saint Nicholas says, “You were shown to be a feeder of the hungry, a great pilot for those on the seas, and a healer of the sick. You have proved to be a helper of all that cry to God, Alleluia.”
Saint Nicholas listens to all of us who pray to him!
We celebrate the feastday of Saint Nicholas on Tuesday, December 6th.
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