On November 30/December 13 the entire Orthodox world commemorates the disciple of the Savior who first came to Christ, the first to respond to His call, for which he received the moniker “First-Called”—the holy apostle Andrew.
January 20, in the afterfeast of Theophany (the Baptism of the Lord), the Orthodox Church honors the one who (as it says in the canon dedicated to him) “wast found worthy to touch the head of Christ the King,” and of whom the Savior Himself said in the Gospel: Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist (Lk. 7:28). On this day, the apodosis of the Theophany, we would like once again to remember the great Forerunner of Christ.
In the Church liturgical cycle the Nativity of Christ is the second most important festival after Easter and that is why it is celebrated for whole twelve days. As always, the all-merciful Lord abundantly pours out His grace and light upon us. Hence the Russian name of this season: “Svyatki”, that is, “Holy Days”.
Your sons and daughters will travel their own particular paths in life, but you know that the foundation laid in their souls is true. They will fall and make the same mistakes you did in your youth, but they will be their own. And they will get up to go on. But upon them, in their inner hearts' horizon, will shine the star of Orthodoxy, carrying them through life. Only try from a young age to instill in them, with God’s help, love for prayer. It is a journey, and its boat will undoubtedly guide us to God.