Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Baptism of the Lord

My daughter's birthday was yesterday - but the year she was born, the 12th was a Sunday. And it was the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Now, for obvious reasons, I didn't make it to mass that day (my husband managed to at the hospital). But of course I'll always connect that feast day with my daughter's birth. And, it's interesting to note that one of my brothers was baptized on the Feast day of the Baptism of the Lord - he was also born on Christmas Eve (I suppose a person could be tempted to have visions of grandeur because of that - but he was the youngest of four - we kept him humble)

But since my daughter's birth, there is one thing that I always associate with this feast day (besides her birth of course) and that is the letter I got from my grandfather a couple of days after our daughter was born.

Dear Christine and Adrian:

We are so glad that the long days of waiting for the birth of your baby are over.

Anne called us last Sunday at 9AM to tell us that you were at the hospital in labor. We got his message just before we left for the 9:30 Mass at St. Charles. This is a quite a struggle for us during the winter. I have to get out of our house through the back door on my butt and then get into the wheelchair and let Ruth push me to the car in the garage. Luckily I do not have any trouble driving. We left our wheelchair at home and transferred to another wheelchair at the church.

Richard, who had gone to the 8:30 Mass, was waiting for us and pushed me into the church. I sat, as usual, in the space between the front pew and the altar. Ruth sat in the pew right behind me.

The 9:30 Mass was for the children who, upon signal, left their pews and sat on the altar steps alongside the priest, who baptized a baby a few feet in front of us and then gave a little talk about the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (Mark 1:7-11).

Then he let the children participate in the baptism in this manner: He had a big bundle of small branches from Christmas trees and gave two or three to each child. Then adults, each carrying a large bowl of water, took their places at the entrance to each aisle.

The priest then spoke to the children something like this: "Now I want you to do the baptizing. The whole idea is to get the people wet, like this." He dipped their branches into water and swung them over the people!

I spoke to Father Ed Palumbos at the end of this ceremony and told him that we were expecting another great-grandchild at any moment now. He congratulated us and gave his best wishes for the parents.

I was deeply impressed by the ceremony, and thought of you in labor. We went to the CharBroil Restaurant for breakfast. We got a call from Anne that you delivered a baby girl at 5:05 PM.

To Christine and Adrian: May this little girl be a source of happiness to you all the days of your life.

Grandma (Ruth), Grandpa (Leo) and Uncle Richard.

Is it any wonder that I think of this letter when this feast day rolls around.

And my grandfather's blessing has proven apt as well - so far she has truly been a source of happiness to us. I wish he could know her now.

1 comment:

Cassie said...

Christine - that is a beautiful story and a beautiful letter! Thank you for sharing it with us readers. You are so blessed! As of yesterday, I now have a happy memory for the Feast of Our Lord's Baptism as well. My nephew Clark was Baptized yesterday and I got to be the Godmommy! We didn't have anything like that extra-special ceremony your grandfather witnessed, but it was a beautiful day filled with the Holy Spirit. God is so good! I also want to say that I have a daughter with a January birthday as well. She will turn one tomorrow. Blessings to you and your family!