October 9th was the most glorious day for it was the day of our precious newborn daughter's baptism. In our faith, baptism is the introduction of one's life into the church. On this eventful Saturday morning our family and friends gathered at St. James Orthodox Church for the baptismal service. Prior to the baptismal date, we carefully and prayerfully selected her godparents.
During the baptismal service, the godparents have duties such as holding our daughter and making specific responses during the service. Traditionally, godparents in baptism are guarantors pledging to the Church that our daughter will be brought up in the faith.
"The Orthodox Church observes the practice of infant baptism, as does the Roman Catholic Church and certain Protestant denominations. The baby that has been physically born into a particular human family is, through baptism, “born” into its spiritual, eternal family. For this reason, it is the godparents who hold the baby during the baptismal service. In accordance with the most ancient descriptions of the rite of baptism, our daughter was baptized by being immersed in water three times, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Through baptism we share in Christ’s burial and resurrection- “As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). This is followed by the anointing with holy oil, or “Chrism”, from which we get the word “chrismation”. In the Old Testament those who became priests or Kings had oil poured on their head as a sign of God’s abiding presence with them, and so it is with the newly baptized infant. But in the Gospel of John, we read of two occasions when Jesus himself was anointed with oil, although He was Himself both “priest” and “king”. The first time (John 12:3) was in anticipation of His burial, and the second time (John 19:39) was when Nicodemus with Joseph of Arimathea prepared the body of the crucified Jesus for burial. So, the rite of chrismation during baptism affirms both that we are “a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9) and that we are prepared for martyrdom - to take up our cross and follow Him, dying to self that we may live for God. The final act of the baptismal service is the tonsuring, the cutting of four snips of hair which are then burned in the candle flame, representing our daughter's first offering of self to God."
Once the service was concluded, our family and friends gathered at our home for a celebration. Many delicious food items had been prepared and I did so without a slightest clue as to how many people would be served. However, despite the uncertainty of numbers, I managed to feed everyone! A blessed event for our blessed miracle child.
Blessing to all of you,