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 been shopping lately? Lots and lots of people go Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving. They want to find the best gifts, and to get a head start for Christmas.
Today at church, we hear about the very, very best gift we could ever get. In the epistle reading, we hear how God wants us to be with Him. He knows we sometimes do the wrong thing, and He forgives us for that. He gives us more than we can ever ask for, when He gives us life with Him forever. The epistle says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” When we love God very much, He gives us this spot in heaven. It’s a gift! It’s not because of something we did.
In the Gospel reading too, we hear about a man who wanted to live with God forever. He tried everything! He said he did everything right. That man wanted to earn his way to heaven, just like you might earn money by doing chores. Then, you can buy something you really want.
Let’s always remember that life with God is a gift! We love God, so we want to do what He wants. But we can’t earn it! Let’s pray that our Lord will give us this great “gift of God.”
THE “MINOR” PROPHETS: NAHUM, HABBAKUK, AND ZEPHANIAH
You’ve heard of the prophets, haven’t you? You know Moses and Elijah, maybe even Daniel and Isaiah? The prophets are the ones who spoke the word of God. God told them what to say to the people, and these prophets said it. We can find the words of the prophets in the Old Testament, the part of the Bible that tells about the world before Jesus became man.
Well, some of the prophets are called “major” prophets because they have long books in the Bible. Some of them are called “minor” prophets, because they have short books in the Bible.
We have a wonderful saint in our Orthodox Church, Saint John Maximovitch. He lived in the 1900s, right here in the United States! For part of his life, Saint John was kind of a principal of a school. Once, he was walking down the hallway of the school and he overheard a teacher telling the students about the “minor prophets.” Saint John was usually very gentle, but he stormed into the classroom. “There are NO minor prophets!” he said.
Well, the word “minor” just meant that their books of the Bible were shorter than the others. But Saint John was right! There are no minor prophets. God gave each of them a voice to speak for Him! And that’s a big deal, of course! During the first three days of December, we remember three of these prophets, Nahum, Habbakuk, and Zephaniah.
We celebrate these three saints on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Dec. 1, 2, and 3.
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