On November 14th, 1965, I was made a “Member of Christ, the Child of God, and an Inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven” through baptism. As the last of four children, my parents had forgotten to get me “done” at the time I was born and only remembered to have me baptized, I’m told, when it was time for one of my older siblings to be confirmed.
I have a framed copy of my baptismal certificate in my office (it’s far more important to me than an ordination certificate or educational degree) and various aspects of it occasionally prompt my reflection. Today my reflection was on the blank lines next to where it says “Godparents.” I didn’t have any Godparents. I’m not sure whether or not that was oversight, too (Godparents are not required), or whether my parents had just run out of possibilities by the time they got to me.
I was reflecting on this because I’ve just returned from a super speedy trip to see our Goddaughter, to be with her on her baptismal anniversary. When her parents asked us if we would be her Godparents we said that we would be honored, but we wanted to have an ongoing relationship with her. So it’s a relationship we take seriously. It’s why she and I will always spend November 4th together (we have a tradition of baking a cake together, but someday she may tire of that). It’s why, now that she is 13 and has her own phone, I will drop everything to respond to her texts. It’s why, when her mother calls and says, “Ellie wants to know what confirmation is about…” I talk to Ellie, not her mom. I want her to know there are no blank lines, real or imagined, on her baptismal certificate.
If you have Godchildren, do you have special traditions that you share with them? If you don’t, can you think of some that might be meaningful, or that were meaningful to you?
I’m grateful for my baptism– it’s the foundation of my life today– and especially grateful for a not-so-little girl named Ellie, who helps me remember that joy is a part of the foundation, too.
Yours in faith,