How To Celebrate or Honor Baptism
10 Ways To Celebrate Your Godchild’s Baptismal Anniversary
1. Play with water together: Use water toys, go swimming, walk by a river or lake, make popsicles, visit an aquarium, or drive through a car wash. Tell the child that you are sharing in the joy of water together to remember his or her baptism.
2. Encourage your godchild’s parents to celebrate the baptismal anniversary at home. Include: making the sign of the cross on the child with water, lighting a candle, and sharing memories and pictures of the baptism. Talk to the child about what baptism means.
3. Give water-themed gifts: bath toys, bubble bath, shower gel, squirt toys, pool or beach toys, recordings of songs or music with a water theme, movies or games or water-sports equipment.
4. Give gifts that speak to the spiritual meaning of baptism, including:
Religious music: Lullabies that speak of God for a toddler, jazz versions of spirituals for a teen, or other genres the child appreciates.
5. Welcome, Child of God (Augsburg Fortress, 2011): a board book for infants and toddlers about baptism with a text that can be sung to the tune of “All Through the Night” or “Go, my children, with my blessing”.
6. Bible story books: especially water stories such as Noah, Baby Moses, or The Red Sea, age appropriate Bibles such as Spark Story Bible (ages 2-grade 2), or Spark Bible (NRSV) grades 3-6.
7. Story books about great Christians: Nicholas, Patrick, Brigid, Hildegard, Francis, J.S. Bach, Sojourner Truth, Florence Nightingale, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Chiune Sugihara, Cesar Chavez, etc. Others books by great Christian authors: Madeleine L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, Patricia McKissak, Katherine Paterson.
8. Make a charitable donation: Allow your godchild to help decide the organization you choose to give to in his or her name. This could be God’s Global Barnyard, Heifer International, or others.
9. Draw pictures about baptism together: These could be pictures of the child’s personal baptism or of biblical water stories. Take time to draw your godchild and have him draw himself as a part of the biblical stories (in the ark with Noah, crossing the Red Sea or the Jordan River to go home, escaping a pursuing army, drinking water from the rock— Numbers 20, Exodus 17).
10. Send a card: If you can’t physically be with your godchild on the baptismal anniversary, try to send a baptismal anniversary card or a card with Christian artwork, or a blank card with a photograph of
some type of watery scene. Include a note sharing memories of the child’s baptism, or tell the child what baptism means to you. Remind the child of God’s promise to love him no matter what. Share how
you have seen the child living out his identity as a child of God this past year.
10 Ways To Godparent An Adult Godchild
1. Keep in touch: Send regular notes. Focus on remembering the baptismal anniversary rather than holidays. Express an interest in his or her life. Listen more than you speak to the godchild. Remind the godchild what you admire in him.
2. Reconnect if for some reason you’ve fallen out of touch with your godchild. Share that a certain event or celebration made you think of your godchild. Use a special occasion (graduation, wedding, etc.) as an opportunity to reconnect. Share your memories of the baptism.
3. Ask “best and worst” questions: What was your favorite or least favorite part of your recent trip? What is the most rewarding or challenging part of your life right now? What do you enjoy most or least about your job? Asking such double questions shows sincere interest in your godchild’s experiences– both good and bad.
4. Attend to transitions in life: Make an effort to reach out to your godchild when facing life’s transitions (moving, changing jobs, becoming a parent, losing a loved one, illness, divorce, etc. Comfort your godchild and help him recognize that change can bring grief as we lose what we are comfortable and familiar with. Ask if he wants to mark such changes in a special way. Say something about God’s promise to carry us through life.
5. Do something good for the world together: Work on a volunteer project together either through your church or community. If you’re not able to be together, set aside charitable funds to donate to an organization of the godchild’s choice. Discuss what your godchild values and the choice he made.
6. Interview your godchild’s older relatives (even though they may also be your relatives) about their lives. You can search online for “life review interview questions” or “family history questions”. This may not be interesting to some young adults, but will likely be appreciated later in life. This is another way to open discussions with your godchild in the areas of values and faith.
7. Give your godchild a symbol of your caring and praying. This may be as simple as a rock, a pocket cross, or any sort of craft or art work. If you make something, tell your godchild that you prayed for him when you made it. You could have two identical objects that you and your godchild will have in common to remember to pray for one another.
8. Give water-themed gifts: If you choose to give gifts in remembrance of special dates, water-themed gifts serve as a reminder of baptism that won’t require you to say anything explicit about it.
9. Give gifts that support your godchild in daily rituals: These might include advent wreaths, a cross or piece of handmade religious art, religious music, a collection of table prayers, a nativity set, a religious calendar, recordings or books with prayers or lullabies, etc.
10. If your adult godchild is not connected with the church: Continue to stay positively connected with him. Showing that you care is a witness to the promises of God made to your godchild, no matter what. You might be able to speak of church or God without your godchild feeling pressured. Continue to witness God’s love with your own. Remember that god-parenting is about grace.
10 Ways To Nurture Baptismal Faith At Home
1. The first place that your child experiences the tangible love of God is in your own arms. Give voice to that love as a gift from God:
* I love you so much. I’m grateful that God has given us this gift of love to share with each other.
2. Point your child to signs of new life all around, like budding spring flowers, new friendships, and new opportunities. Help your child identify these signs of life as a gift from God.
* What a beautiful rose! Isn’t God wonderful?
* You are starting a new school year. I am so proud of you. I am grateful for the new beginnings that God gives us.
* Look at those two people helping each other. Isn’t it great how God gives us opportunities to work together?
3. Ask your child for forgiveness when you make a mistake, and be gracious in your forgiveness toward your children. Give voice to the fact that forgiveness comes from God. You might trace the sign of the cross on your child’s head as you say, “I forgive you.”
* I’m sorry I yelled at you. Will you forgive me? Thank you for helping me know that even when I make a mistake you still love me. I am so grateful that our God forgives us.
* I forgive you, son. I know it is hard to choose kind words to say instead of hurtful words. What might be some loving words you can say the next time you are angry.
4. Make it a habit to talk about worship on the way home, at the lunch table, and in the car. Encourage your child to focus on words from a hymn, decorations from church, liturgical actions, stories from the scripture, or ideas from a sermon. Ask questions together. Learn together.
*What did you notice this morning at worship?
* I wonder what that tells us about God.
5. Help your child know how important he is to your church family. Encourage your child to worship fully by supporting her in the singing of hymns, reading of words, and actions of liturgy.
* When you sing in worship, you really help us praise God.
6. Carve out time for family devotions. Encourage your children to help plan or lead your family devotions. Act out, tell, or read Bible stories that reveal God’s loving and redeeming power.
* What does that story tell us about God and His love?
7. Cultivate grateful hearts. Give voice to the gratitude that you feel for your gifts. Model thankfulness for successes and struggles. Let your child hear you talk about moments of grace in times of happiness as well as times of sadness. Say prayers of thanksgiving together.
* God, we are grateful for the support our friends are giving us in
this tough time. It helps us to know that we are not alone.
8. Help your child embrace how important the church family is. Identify a person who is a role model of faith-filled living and how this person inspires others.
* It is inspiring to see Mr. Smith bring neighbors to church. He shows hospitality to others and makes them feel welcome.
9. Help your child see how precious he is in God’s sight. Remind your child of the specific gifts you see in him, making sure to identify internal qualities. Leave notes expressing your appreciation for your child as unique and loved by God.
* I am grateful for your honesty. Thank you for telling the truth.
10. Let your child witness your decision making. Allow him to see you thinking about your choices, considering which would be more “life-giving” to others and which might be focused on self.
* I’d like to go to the game that starts during worship time. Which
event would be more life-giving to others?
10 Ways To Remember Your Baptism In Daily LIfe
1. Daily ‘Waking Prayer’: Follow Luther’s suggestion of a daily waking prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of a new day to be lived in the forgiveness and love of Jesus. Example: I give thanks to you, blessed Jesus, that you have made me a child of God forever in your sinless death and life-giving resurrection. Amen.
2. Be more conscious of the gift of water in your life: Water is a precious resource, both physically and spiritually. Think about how each encounter with water carries the potential to drown and revive, to kill and bring life, to overpower and to heal.
3. Talk about your baptismal faith and let your words lead to actions: Because I am baptized , I believe that if I reach out to this person in need and give myself away (dying to self), God will provide me with all I need for daily life (rising with Christ).
4. Remember that baptism is a gift that not only brings one into a relationship with Christ but also into a relationship with an entire community of faith. Think about ways in which your life reflects the baptismal understanding of life lived for others. Pray for strength and insight to live more fully into that baptismal understanding.
5. Take seriously the baptismal understanding of putting sin to death. It is drowned by a gracious Savior in the waters of baptism. What in your life needs to be drowned?
6. Consider how your life is a shining light in the world and if it is calling others to Christ’s love. At baptism, newly baptized are presented a candle, and these words may be said: Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). The presentation of this candle with these words is more than a gesture signaling an individual’s relationship with Jesus for the sake of receiving salvation. It is a rich sign of good words lived for the sake of witnessing to a loving God.
7. Serve a person in need. As you do, make the connection in your mind and heart between your loving outreach to another and Christ’s welcome to you through baptismal grace. See Christ in the other.
8. Invite another person to the waters of baptism. Share with him or her the invitation that was offered to you or given before awareness dawned. In the confidence and joy of this gift of life, explore the possibility of sharing it with someone who has not yet been introduced to life in Christ.
9. Think about the pattern of baptism (dying and rising) as a pattern for everyday activities in our life. What of my ideas might die in this discussion at the office in order for something new to be raised up in its place? What of this old grudge could be buried that a new relationship could rise up in its place?
10. Pray daily that God will continue to deepen your life of faith as you walk through the lifelong journey of grace and forgiveness with Jesus initiated by your baptism.
Celebrating Baptismal Anniversaries At Home
Gathering: A baptismal hymn or acclamation may be sung.
(See Evangelical Lutheran Worship #209-217)
The sign of the cross may be made by all in remembrance of baptism.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
A bowl of water may be placed in the midst of the group.
A baptismal candle or another candle may be lit. The leader may say:
Jesus said, I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will have the light of life.
Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Reading: Those present may share in one or more of the readings.
Romans 6:3-5: Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
Galatians 3:26-28: In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
Mark 10:13-14,16: People were bringing children to Jesus so that he might touch them; the disciples spoke sternly to them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said, “Let the children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. He took them in his arms, laid his hand on them, and blessed them.
2 Corinthians 5:17: If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:
everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
Ephesians 4:1-6: Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above and through all and in all.
1 John 4:7: Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone that loves is born of God and knows God.
A baptismal hymn or acclamation may be sung.
Baptismal Remembrance: A parent/sponsor may trace a cross on the forehead of the person celebrating. Water from the bowl may be used. These or similar words may be said:
(Name), when you were baptized, you were marked with the cross of Christ forever. Remember your baptism with thanksgiving and joy.
Prayers: Gracious God, we thank you for the new life you give us through holy baptism. We ask you to bless Name on this baptismal anniversary. Continue to strengthen Name with the Holy Spirit and increase your gifts of grace: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Other prayers may be added. Petitions and thanksgivings may be offered.
Prayers may conclude with the Lord’s Prayer.
Blessing: Almighty God, who gives us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit and forgives us all our sins, strengthen us in all goodness and by the power or the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. The greeting of peace may be shared by all.