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 five small children: Lydia, Paul, Silas, Philip, and Sarah. Presvytera Alexandra grew up attending Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Asheville, North Carolina with her nine siblings.
Sometimes you might hear somebody say, “He was born to do that.” A great runner might be “born to run,” or people might say a great scientist might be “born to” find a cure for some disease. If somebody is really good at something, people might say that God made him for that whole reason.
Today is the Sunday before Christmas, the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. In the Gospel reading today, we hear the long story of where Jesus came from—it tells who Joseph was, who Joseph’s father was, who his father was, and so on. You might remember how Joseph had a dream before the baby, Jesus, was born. In the dream, an angel of God told Joseph where Jesus came from. He told him that the baby was from God! The angel told Joseph, “Call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (The name “Jesus” means “He saves.”)
Jesus was born to save His people from their sins! As Christians, we always know why Jesus came to us. It wasn’t just to make blind people see again. It wasn’t just to make people who couldn’t walk, to walk again. It wasn’t just to tell stories about how to be good people. Jesus came to save us. He was born as a baby to grow up and “save His people from their sins.” Let’s thank God for Jesus, and what He was born to do!
SAINT IGNATIUS: “THE GOD-BEARER”
Can you think back to your very first memory? Doctors say that for most people, their earliest memories are when they were around three years old. So when you are all grown up, you probably won’t remember anything before then!
On Tuesday, we celebrate the nameday of a saint who probably had the best first memory any person could hope for. When Ignatius was a little child, he met our Lord, Jesus Christ, when He was preaching to the people. This memory stuck with Ignatius, and he grew up to love the Lord all his life.
When Ignatius was older, he learned from Saint John (Jesus’s disciple), and he learned from other early saints too. Ignatius became a bishop in the city of Antioch. When he was bishop, Ignatius met the emperor Trajan, who really hated Christians and wanted them gone. The emperor tried to force Ignatius to pray before the false idols and to worship them. Ignatius remembered his Lord, and he knew he could never give up his love for Him!
The emperor sent Ignatius to be attacked by wild lions. Ignatius was hurt so much there, and he was even killed. But finally, Ignatius got to see the face of Jesus Christ again, this time in heaven!
We celebrate the feastday of Saint Ignatius on Tuesday, December 20th.
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