Baptism is a New Beginning

By Jennifer Gregory Miller (bio - articles - email) | Jan 15, 2019

I’ve been distracted this weekend by several inches of snow. It has been a few years since Virginia has gotten measurable white stuff! The snow days gave me some extra time to test out new recording software and equipment for our multimedia interface. I’m not quite ready to unveil an audio or video recording, but am testing out the linking capability in this post.

Snow or no snow, the Liturgical Year continues to cycle. The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord this Sunday marked the end of the Christmas season. The Church changes to green vestments on Monday and begins Tempus Per Annum or Ordinary Time (or Time after Epiphany in the Extraordinary Form).

I always enjoy this feast and the transition into Ordinary Time. Christ’s baptism marked the beginning of his ministry. This feast reminds us of our own initiation, our own baptism, when we were grafted onto the True Vine. Our baptism is the moment when we became sons and daughters of God.

The transition into Ordinary Time is another opportunity in the Liturgical Year to start again. It is the time to renew our efforts in our daily spiritual life. We recall our baptism and beginning with Christ. With those thoughts in our mind, we try to implement the graces and gifts we have received during the Advent and Christmas seasons.

Our family’s focus this week is recalling our own baptisms. We have been busy recording the dates on our calendar. Electronic calendars are such a great tool to put an annual reminder for each family member’s baptism anniversary (and godchildren’s). My husband still is unsure of his baptism anniversary, so he is determined to track the date down.

Remembering our baptisms is not just for this feast, but throughout the Liturgical Year. Some plans and decorations can be ready on hand, such as a white garment, baptismal candle, shell, water, Christ Candle, holy cards of patron saints, etc. This can be the time to prepare a short ceremony that includes the text of the Baptismal Vows to repeat again in our family prayers.

I have also been thinking of ways to help my children (and students) focus on Baptism more. One idea is making white garments. I found some local parishes that have a ministry of sewing the baptismal white garments for parishioners. I’ve found some pattern ideas that we might implement.

My favorite tradition is to use the baptismal candle as a centerpiece for these days we remember the baptism. The one thing I have learned is to not light the real one if you want it to last. We lit the candle on birthdays when I was growing up and the candles are small stumps, with all the decorations burned off. Instead, a substitute candle could be decorated to symbolize the original baptismal candle. That idea can be expanded to making the candles from scratch or simply using paint or wax to decorate store-bought candles. The candles could then be blessed on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Candlemas.

Baptism is a new beginning; it is important to remember our initiation into the Body of Christ throughout the year. Catholic Culture has many good articles and activities and prayers on remembering the sacrament of baptism in our family. In the Links below I’ve compiled my previous posts and some of my favorite articles that I use for my own family.

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Jennifer Gregory Miller is an experienced homemaker, mother, CGS catechist and authority on living the liturgical year. She is the primary developer of CatholicCulture.org’s liturgical year section. See full bio.

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