Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Easter baskets & Baby dedications

"what? I'm not supposed to be moving around my cot?"

pretty smile
Connor just waking up - he is LOVING the colder weather and having a lovely two-hour nap every day.

"okay, dummy time"

Thank you so much for sharing your Easter traditions.

Wow - it varied a lot. I am sooo against clutter that I don't think I'd be doing Easter baskets EVEN if we lived in the US. Kind of like Sadia.

That said, I see an increasing trend of US traditions creeping into South African society. Not that it's wrong, just interesting. Like Halloween and the craziness about Christmas and now, of course, Easter.

I like the fact that we're a bit behind the US in most things commercial as hopefully, the children will only twig that they're deprived when they're, like 18 years old! LOL - I can only hope!


Speaking of traditions, let's talk about baby christenings, baptisms, dedications, etc.

Whatever your flavour is according to your denomination, or lack thereof.

Let me tell you my story because quite honestly, I am steeped in indecision and this is not a nice place for me to be. I hate not taking action!

I go to a gigantic church (about 5 - 7 000 in the 3 services) which is perfect for us as not only is there a lot going on (I like lots of action remember), I can do my thing while still melting into the crowd and, last but by no means least, we feel we're meant to be exactly there.

So, at our church we dedicate babies. That means they call up the babies, you all go to the front and there's a bit of a message / sermon (5 - 10 minutes) and then they pray over them all at the same time (one prayer while the pastors lay their hands on the babies' heads) and off you go, dedicated. Oh, you do get a certificate afterwards.

I have issues with this.

It does stem from my infertility days because I remember some pastors saying things like "some of our members take church growth seriously" ha ha ha, which was good for a bit of a laugh but not for Super Sensitive Infertile Me.

When they'd announce that the next baby dedication would be at the second service on whichever weekend, I'd make sure to go to the first service. And so on.

I am not in the least bit ashamed or guilty because we all do what we need to to survive! And sorry to say this, but most Christians just don't get it - that no amount of praying will get you pregnant and you still have faith even if you choose IVF.

Now I'm on the other side of the fence.

I have these two gorgeous children that I'm so grateful for who STILL have not been dedicated.

Here are my issues:

I don't want a mass dedication as I feel like my babies are too special and too hard-fought for that (!) - being honest here :)

I would consider a private ceremony but our area pastors (we have tons throughout the church) haven't been at all involved with our pregnancy let alone since the babies have been born and I don't want one of those generic-type "these babies are a blessing from God" services.

We are both ordained pastors (I know - shock, horror!) but we haven't worked with real people for ages (we moved into other bits of church ministry - passion driven ministries) but it's weird to have us do our own babies' dedications.

D's mom is also a pastor but D says the POINT of having a baby dedication is to get people to the church and would the family really take it seriously with her doing it? Okay then.

But as I'm typing this, I had a brainwave. We have VERY GOOD friends (they're the type you phone at 3 am in the morning) who are pastors down in Cape Town (I know, what a hard life, in beautiful CT). Maybe I should check when they next plan to come up to Jhb and do it then?

Also, it seems I'm decidedly unsociable. Well, it's not that - it's the fact that too many people around the babies stress me out.

And I find I'm comparing myself with others - I know it's bad but I still do.

My friends have had big, glorious "affairs" for their little darlings and I've had squat. I know I'm a great mother (!) but I'm thinking, "what if this stuff is Important and Valuable to them and I couldn't be bothered?"

One of my friends, Intentional Natalie (I can't help calling her this - it's a sickness!!!) had something "small" for 20 people at her parents' home over Christmas - now that sounds doable to me.

I think my struggle is between what I want, what I don't want and what I can realistically do.

D? D just wants it done - the God bit, that is. He couldn't care less about the afterward.

When I said to him, "traditionally people have tea or lunch afterwards" he said, "why can't we just send them home?!" - you see what I have to work with?

So tell me, what do you think will be perfect for us?

And what did you do? I want to know about the ceremony, what the baby/ies wore, food, do people bring presents (Lord, NO, not more stuff!)? etc, etc.


  1. Oh my gosh...what a gorgeous smile!!! Your babies are just too cute! Well, you know what we did as far as the dedication is concerned. I won't was hectic having so many people around the girls BUT it was lovely having our nearest and dearest share the occasion with us. Yes, people brought presents...they got LOTS of books! Which I am SO pleased about because if there is one thing I want to encourage is lots of reading! They got the cutest "kiddies" bibles and then very special "adult" bibles from their great-gran!!! Having a friend officiate the service was special too and I can definitely encourage that!!! Also, having it at a venue was great because I didn't have to worry about any of the catering. You could still do that but just with fewer guests?
    x x x x

  2. I am catching up on all the blogs I've missed while I was concentrating on birthdays, etc. for the last week or so--I am interested to catch up on all these traditions you've been talking about!

    I think it would be special to have your friends do a dedication. Maybe you could have a small (20ish guests) ceremony at your house or another location? No one says it HAS to be in church!

    We did a dedication at church, but it's a small-ish church and it's where I have attended my entire it just made sense for us to do it there. And I'm completely with you on the "mass dedications"...I understand that large congregations have to do it because of time constraints, but I'm glad my girls got to have their moment. I wanted to go ahead and baptize them, but in our denomination (Methodist), if you are baptized as an infant you will have a re-dedication when you choose to publicly pronounce your faith. Jeremy and I were both baptized when we chose to announce our commitment to God, so he wanted the girls to have that opportunity too. We pretty much did our regular Sunday dinner at a restaurant afterward, but there was more family there to go with us. No gifts, either.

    Sorry for the LONG comment, but I like comparing notes on these kinds of things! And, you're ordained??? That's very cool-you should tell us more about it! : )

  3. Very cute pics!!!
    I'm in the process of planning our dedication.
    We go to a small church so Ava's dedication will be taking place next month at the church in the morning service but she's the only one being dedicated.
    We're having a finger snack lunch with champagne here afterwards. Nothing too over the top. I'm ordering some platters and a case of champagne and thats it!
    Good luck with whatever you decide. For me, the most important thing is the actual dedication prayer, the rest of it (gifts, food, all that) is secondary and you should do whats comfortable for you!

  4. Kendra's smile is heart-stopping!

    I can't speak to the religious side of things, not being religious in the least. However, if people do insist on bringing gifts, why not request books on religion/Christianity/Jesus for the children? My standard baptism gift is the Baby Bible Storybook.

    Baptism is a bit of a sticking point in our family. As you know, I'm atheist, and we're raising the kids Catholic because that's my husband's religion. I'm happy to have them baptized, but I think arranging the ceremony should fall on my husband's shoulders. After all, for me it's just a matter of tradition, whereas for him it's spiritually meaningful. The kidlets will be four soon, and he just hasn't done it. This means that I can't enroll them in Sunday school.

    We had a talk recently, and I believe he's planning to have them baptized the next time he's home. I'm hoping it'll pan out ... and then I can look to the feedback you get to figure out what the trappings should be!

  5. I love the photos! Our kids' baptism was part of the regular church service - my church growing up, not one we go to as a family (we'll do that when the kids are older). We lucked out and it was only the two of them. We had family and a few friends (very small) over to my mom's house (because it is in the same town) with fried chicken, salad and lemonaide. It was just right and not too much work for me (we picked up everything pre-made and used nice paper plates). Thankfully the only people who brought gifts were godparents but I also think I told people (word of mouth) not to bring anything. Whatever you do make sure it is something easy on you and that you'll have a few nice pictures and memories.

  6. Gosh, they are so cute!

    Now on to Christenings, Dedications, whatever, you know I always have an opinion on everything. My opinion is to think exactly what do you want (which you are doing) and do just that and don't apologize for anything else. And I'm cyberly beating you over the head to stop comparing yourself to others. Sometimes people do things (like big dos for this kind of stuff) because they are trying to impress others. I think of gatherings as experiences and spending time together with family and close friends. I'd rather enjoy that then try to impress people.

    We had our boys baptized last month right before they turned 10 months old. We're Catholic and usually Catholics do this sooner as their is the old school of thought that unbaptized babies can't go to heaven because of original sin. I think that's hogwash and I was way to busy surviving in the beginning to think of doing the baptism any sooner. We had it done during a church service and there were two other babies being baptized. Both DH and I had our parents and most siblings there and my grandmother was even able to come! Afterwards, we just had a lunchmeat tray for sandwiches and cake. We were going to have hot food like lasagna (something we could have in the oven and not think about as we'd rather spend time with our guests), but we had a really warm spell all of a sudden, so we changed our mind on the menu two days before. We made our own lunchmeat tray instead of buying it pre-made from the store, as we love (love! love!) stuff to make Italian sandwiches: hot capicola, pepperoni, salami, provolone cheese along with the usual ham, turkey and regular cheese. We also had lettuce, tomatoes and onions sliced on the side as I love those on sandwiches. We also ordered whole-wheat sandwich rolls from the grocery store when we ordered the cake. So it was very us: low key, good simple food and shared the day with family.

    I'm not saying this is exactly what you should do, but I am saying you should do what you want to do. Now I'm trying to figure out what we're going to do for the boys' first birthday at the end of May! Enjoy!

  7. We did our dedication the first week Josiah was in church (8 days old) for several reasons. My brother was only going to be in the state for the 1st two weeks of Josiah's life and it was important for him to be there. And because my church is very small (50-75 people) and they were all really supportive and loving during our infertility. I've been going there for 10 years so many people have seen me go from teenager to adult and marry one of the other kids in the youth group. I had gone up multiple times for prayer and updated everyone frequently. When I announced my pregnancy, there were audible cheers and screams from people and they were beyond thrilled. I wanted to share my Answer to Prayer with them so badly!

    At our church, everything is really casual. You can wear shorts on a Sunday morning and call everyone by their first names or nicknames. We're comprised of several big families. So, most of the time the dedication only happens when a new baby is born into the church (not THAT frequently with that small of a church) and is done at the end of the service. The parents come up with the baby and invite as many family members as they want to support them. People will often have family who don't attend the church or who live out of town come as well. Usually the family is dressed up a little more. We do have Christening outfits here in the US which some babies may wear out of tradition, but at our church anything goes. Josiah just wore his nicest newborn clothes.

    The family gathers around the baby and the elders and pastor pray over the baby and family. It was even more special for us because my FIL is an elder, so he was praying for his grandson. After the prayers, the family may stay to take pictures, but if there's any kind of luncheon, it's done at their homes and not at church. We didn't have anything. And there were no gifts or anything. It may be more prominent in Catholicism but the only thing a baby might get that I know of is a special picture frame or a new outfit.

    For you, I think a small gathering sounds the best, and maybe if it was incorporated into a pre-existing holiday or event, it would save you the hassle of having to plan extra food or activities around it. You could do it in conjunction with their first birthday parties. That gives you 3 months to plan it, and the party can be as big or little as you want. At the party, you can just have a time where the dedication is. That's my two cents :-)

  8. Oh, and I LOVE Kendra's smile. I don't see it too often. They seem like such serious babies, but that smile is adorable!

  9. I'm too cute for the camera, too cute for the camera, too cute for pics... gosh they're cute :)

    I reckon take them down to your friends in Capetown for a teeny sized intimate service, OR ask your friends to come up to you - and keep it focused and small - you just want the precious folks there - my definition of 'precious folks' is people whom you know will be in your lives when the babies are much older. They're far too special for a mass service IMHO.

    Hey - this is a bit random - but how does parking work when there are that many people there???

  10. Thanks for your sweet comments about Henry! Sorry I don't comment more often, but I read your blog on my blackberry google reader while I dry my hair during Henry's first nap of the day lol. You little ones are so precious!! We had a regular baptism at our church, and our pastor did mention though he didn't go into specifics that "we (as a lot of people in the church) have been praying for this baby for a long time." Afterwards, we just had my fam that traveled from out of town (4 people plus kids), and I had a simple lunch with a casserole, salad, a pretty baptism cake that my friend made for us. I wanted it to be about the family being together for such a special occasion and not so busy that we couldn't appreciate the significance.


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