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.
Knowing the rules
Have you ever played a game with somebody who didn’t know the rules? You might just laugh when you play a game with a really little kid. But have you ever played a game with somebody who knows the rules…but doesn’t follow them? Maybe he cheats or makes up his own rules! Now that would bother anyone.
In the Epistle reading today, we hear a speech that St. Stephen gave. People were saying awful things about Stephen, and he wanted to explain what the Christians believed. Stephen talked about people who knew the rules of God, but they didn’t follow the rules. He called them, “You who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”
We read more and more from the Bible. We learn more and more about God’s rules. Now we have a bigger responsibility to keep those rules! You can forgive a 2 year old, when he breaks the rules. But when somebody cheats on the rules, we might get angry! Remember, God wants us to know the rules He gives in the Bible. But when we know the rules, we have to try hard to keep the rules, too!
SAINT STEPHEN: Forgiving enemies
Did somebody ever do some- thing mean to you…and you forgave him? We all know that God wants us to forgive our enemies. Well, you might not even have any enemies. But you can always try hard to forgive somebody for being a little mean to you.
Today we remember a saint who had enemies. Saint Stephen had people who really hated him! They lied about him! They tried to get others to hate him too. And in the end, they threw stones at him and even killed him. But Stephen forgave them all. We hear in the Bible, “And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’”
Saint Stephen prayed for his enemies, even when they were throwing stones at him! If he could do a huge thing like that, then do you think you can do a little thing? Do you think you can pray for people who do little mean things to you? Maybe a classmate gossips about you. Maybe a friend won’t play with you today. Maybe your sister says something mean to you. We can pray and forgive little things, be- cause Saint Stephen gives us this great example!
We celebrate St. Stephen’s nameday today, Sunday, December 27th.
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The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. OCN offers videos, podcasts, blogs and music, to enhance Orthodox Christian life. The Children’s Word is a weekly Sunday bulletin created by Presvytera Alexandra (Gilman) Houck for Orthodox Christian young people. 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 an 8.5 x 14 page, and it can be downloaded and printed.
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