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.
Have you ever taken a bath or a shower, and your parents told you to stay clean? You might have wanted to play outside and have fun, but you had to keep clean.
You know, when we are baptized, we are made clean from sin and from everything we could have done wrong. But God wants us to stay clean, too!
Saint Paul’s letter today tells us, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to give up all sin and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world.” God gave us His grace when we were baptized, but He trained us to give up all the bad stuff too. He wants us to stay clean, just as we were when we were baptized!
Today is the great feast of Theophany, the day our Lord, Jesus Christ was baptized. He showed us the way, how we should be cleaned of all our sin. With baptism, God shows us His grace. The epistle today tells us that God saves us with His mercy, “through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” God cleaned us with our baptism. Now it’s our job to stay clean!
SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIZER AND FORERUNNER
Have you ever played a guessing game, where you could hear somebody, but you couldn’t see him or her? Maybe you were blindfolded, and then you had to guess who it was who spoke.
Tomorrow, we celebrate the feastday of Saint John the Baptist. He’s called the Baptist, because he baptized Christ. But he’s also called the Forerunner, because he came before Christ. He preached to people before Jesus did, because he wanted to get them ready for Jesus. Some people didn’t get it though!
Some people just wanted to follow Saint John, not Jesus. Another saint of our Church, Saint Augustine, explained it like this, “John is the voice, but the Lord is the Word who was in the beginning. John is the voice that lasts for a time; from the beginning Christ is the Word who lives forever.”
Sometimes people get mixed up about who is speaking though. They thought Saint John was the most important one. They thought Saint John was the one who was going to save them…not Jesus Christ!
Let’s celebrate this great saint tomorrow, and remember how Saint John was the one speaking the voice, but He was telling people about the Word, and that is our Lord, Jesus Christ!
We celebrate St. John on Monday, January 7th (Jan 20, OC).
Welcome to “The Children’s Word,” a weekly ministry of the Orthodox Christian Network. Each week, Presvytera Alexandra Houck writes this little newsletter for young parishioners! You will find age-appropriate articles, stories, and activities in every edition. The newsletter is provided in PDF format so that you can easily download and print it, and share it with your parish, church school, homeschool, family, and friends.
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 a 8.5 x 14 page, so it can be printed and folded.
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