Congratulations! You have had – or are going to have – your child baptized at a christening. That is just so exciting. It’s exciting because you are going to have an amazing day with family and friends. It might even involve a party, presents and new clothes, as well as a really special time in church. What’s not to like? But what’s really exciting is that when the Christening day is over, the real amazing journey is only just beginning.
A christening is not just a day – it’s a whole lifetime of discovering what it means to be loved by God and to share that love with others. When the water is poured on your child’s head, they become part of the Christian family all over the world. When the candle is given, they take on the challenge of shining as a light that makes a difference to other people. When the prayers are said and the promises are made you, godparents, and everyone there says they will help your child – and you – along this amazing journey.
As a vicar, I have baptized many babies and children. Sometimes there have been just a handful of family present, at other times, there are hundreds of guests. There have been silent wide-eyed children and loud crying babies. There have been lots of memorable moments – including the toddler who drank the water from the font! But each one has been special – special to their family and friends, and special to God. One of my most enjoyable moments is when I meet children and their families months or even years later. I bump into them in the shop or at the school gate, or I see them at a church holiday club or a Christingle service. I love to see them growing up, and I love to see them discovering the amazing reality of God’s love for them as they learn more about the promises made when they were baptized all that time ago.
Life takes lots of twists and turns. Some things turn out well, some less so. We learn a lot along the way. We change a lot too. But we don’t make the amazing journey of Christian faith alone. We do it with God’s love all around us and God’s people to be with us. Enjoy the journey with your child – on the high days and holidays, work days and home days, in the noise and in the stillness. Enjoy – and discover all that being baptized at a christening means.