One of the joys of spring is the baptism of the newest addition to a family. “Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1213). Peter explained what happens at baptism when he said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Celebrate this Christian milestone with a meaningful Printery House card or gift.
As Christians our faith has a shared history with ancient Judaism. Many of Judaism’s Old Testament (OT) traditions have either carried directly over into Christianity or have taken on a New Testament (NT) look.
The Jewish celebration of Passover as a meal of remembrance has become for Christians the Lord’s Supper or the Communion table. The giving of tithes and offerings, the reading of scripture and singing spiritual songs and the weekly Sabbath are all shared rituals. Baptism, too, is a practice begun among God’s ancient people which is still a part of Christian worship.
Christening The sacrament of baptism is sometimes referred to as Christening which literally translates as “bringing to Christ”. It is a day when the biological family and the church family together present the child to God and pledge to raise the child in the fear and knowledge of the Lord.
Godparents are special people in the parents’ lives who agree to share the responsibility for Christian training. For this reason, Godparents are a special part of the Christening tradition. The practice of appointing Godparents began in the early days of the church when persecution from outsiders was a real danger. The Godparents join the birth parents at the baptismal for this joyous and serious ritual.
Gowns and Bonnets
Very often babies wear a Christening gown for the occasion. The gowns are typically white which represents purity similar to the symbolism of a white wedding gown. Sometimes white bonnets are also worn. The clothing is traditionally, though certainly not always, a gift made by the Godparents.
A Special Christian Name
For Catholics, Christening usually includes bestowing a special name related to the faith. The names of saints, apostles and early Christians are popular. Sometimes gifts engraved or monogrammed with this new name are given in honor of the day.
Always, a baptism or Christening is cause for celebration. Many families host parties after the church service. The party may include an elaborate meal or it may serve up cake and punch, but some sort of festivity is called for. And whether the party is a family-only event or includes a large list of guests, gifts are usually part of the day.
Gifts to Celebrate
Traditional Christening (or baptism) gifts include jewelry, candles, a photo memory album, crucifix or a child’s first bible. Of course, there are many other wonderful gifts which communicate joy and faith. The Printery House carries a variety of gifts which would be appropriate for a Christening ceremony. Visit us online and see how easy it is to find the perfect gift with the click of a button. It may not be an ancient tradition, but it’s a new one worth developing.
An infant’s dedication to Jesus Christ, or “christening,” is a huge milestone in many Catholic and Christian families. It’s a celebration for sure, and the family is likely to keep and treasure baptism cards, gifts and other mementos.
The images artists use for baptism cards hold deep meaning and symbolism, in addition to being beautiful. What’s the meaning behind the images artists use on these cards? A post from Catholic Activities blogspot shares some insight:
1. Guardian angel images: Guardian angel images on baptism cards represent the commitment of the family to invite the guidance and care of angels over the precious infant. Often St. Michael is depicted, in particular. Sometimes these images are framed and placed in an infant’s room and can receive a blessing by a priest.
2. Doves and water: Images depicting a dove, representing the Holy Spirit ascending at Jesus’ own baptism, are also excellent artistic choices for this occasion. These images may be placed with water, representing the act of baptism itself and the promise of Christ to remain as “living water” throughout the lifetime of the child.
2. A baby’s baptism also includes a commemoration of the child’s name, and so artwork that beautifully depicts the child’s name and its meaning is often used for baptism cards and can become an attractive piece to keep for years.
3. Every baby is given a patron saint, and this is typically connected to the infant’s chosen name. Sometimes if a Catholic feast occurs on the day of the baby’s birth, that patron saint name is used. Many artists will use patron saint images for baptism cards and gifts.
4. Trees or plants can be used in baby baptism cards and materials and gifts because it represents the new life the baby will have in Christ, and his family’s commitment to his Catholic or Christian development.
As you celebrate with friends and family at a baby’s Christening or baptism, look for these images on cards and gifts. A card created by the monks and artists at The Printery House, a monastery in northwest Missouri, is an especially meaningful choice. The card designs are hand-lettered and the images are created by the artist and monks to proclaim the Gospel and share faith through printed products and contemporary religious art.