The Children’s Word: What’s in a Name?

The Children’s Word: What’s in a Name?


What’s in a name?

Do you know how you got your name?  Maybe you were named after your grandparent? Or after a saint? Or maybe your parents liked the meaning of your name?

When a baby is born, everybody first asks, “What’s his name?” A name means so much!  When we read the Bible, and we read the stories of our Lord’s birth, we hear many names for our Lord. Do you know what they all mean?

“Jesus” means “God saves.” And that’s just what He came to do…to save us all. “Christ” means the anointed one. That means that He was the one God sent. God chose Him to save us. “Son of David” means that the new baby was King David’s great, great, great, great (and many more greats) son. Baby Jesus was royalty. And everybody knew that the Savior would be a son of King David.

Today, in the Gospel, we hear that the new baby was called “Emmanuel.” That name means “God is with us!” On Christmas, let’s celebrate because with Christ, God is with us. And He came to save us!

SAINT IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH: A Christian, even when it’s hard

It’s Christmastime, and sometimes it looks like almost everybody celebrates.  The malls are packed with Christmas shoppers.  Christmas lights are everywhere.  We hear Christmas music all over the radio.  Christmas is such a happy time, a fun time, too.  It’s easy to celebrate Christmas when everybody else is celebrating too!

But did you know something?  Sometimes it might not be so fun to be a Christian.  It might not seem so happy.  Sometimes being a Christian might be hard and even painful.

Today we celebrate the nameday of Saint Ignatius.  Ignatius was born just after our Lord, Jesus Christ died.  His teacher was Saint John, the Evangelist!  Ignatius was happy to become a Christian, but he knew that loving God meant loving Him all the time, not just when it was easy.

Being a Christian was not allowed, and Saint Ignatius was arrested for believing in Christ.  Sadly, he was sent to be killed by wild animals.  Saint Ignatius never gave up his love for his Lord.  Of course, it wasn’t fun, and it wasn’t easy, like it is for us now at Christmastime.  But Saint Ignatius showed his real love for God.  Can we do that too?

We celebrate St. Ignatius’s nameday today, Sunday, December 20th.

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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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About author

Presvytera Alexandra Houck

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.