December 26, 2011

Dear Juliette,

On the day of your baptism, you woke up knowing that it was Christmas morning, and that Santa might have been by and maybe might have even brought you those roller skates you so consistently requested whenever asked. And yet, you didn't leap out of bed and down the stairs. You snuggled with Genevieve for so long we had to encourage you to get a move on. You opened your skates, pure delight, and delighted just as much in watching the rest of us open our little gifts.
And then it was time to slip into your beautiful gold brocade dress, and leave behind all the rest of those enticing presents for later. Lucky for all of us, it isn't hard to convince you to go to church. It continues to be your favorite place: safe and fun and filled with people you know and love.


We decided to invite two people you really know and love to be your baptismal sponsors. You adore them and their children so much. As soon as the L. family arrived at church, you dashed out of your pew and into theirs, and spent most of the service drawing on attendance papers and bulletins with your dearest neighbor/church friends. I think we all had a moment where we thought: oh, shouldn't she sit with her family? But we all concurred that you were just right where you belonged. Quite the confirmation that we selected an appropriate family to sponsor you and your sister.

When it was time to come forward for the sacrament, I held my breath a bit, worried you might have one of your rare but strong moments of bashfulness. But you were fine. At one point, while Rev. Stiffler was talking about Jesus welconing the little children, you peeked your head around the baptistry and waved to your friends in the front pew.

After promises were made and prayers lifted, I lifted you onto my hip and dipped my hand in the font. I glanced at your face before I touched the water to your forehead. Your brow was furrowed. I think you were concerned about how wet you were going to get, and accordingly, I shook off the excess water into the font before I proceeded.

But it dawns on me now: you looked just like I did in the picture taken during my ordination, when my community was laying its hands on me and calling upon the power of the Holy Spirit. My brow was furrowed, too. I remember thinking I didn't really know what I was getting into, or whether I would experience what I was supposed to experience, or if I was really worthy of the honor bestowed on me that day. I was, in my own way, concerned about how wet I was going to get.

Juliette Louise, I baptized you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I called you what you are: a child of God, disciple of Christ, and member of the church. I kissed your cheek and set you down again, filled with wonder and humility and grace upon grace.

Your life is now the subject of a sacred covenant, one you will have an opportunity to confirm when you are older. I can tell you from personal experience that it is always a gift and sometimes a challenge to live in sacred covenant, and that I wouldn't want it any other way.

Juliette Louise, my daughter, my sister in Christ.

Love,
Mama



3 comments:

  1. This is beautiful... Such a gift for Juliette!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dearest Katerine, I believe this may be the most beautiful piece you have ever writeen. While your writing always touches the heartstrings, THIS piece was the peace of Christ.

    ReplyDelete

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