Following Anika’s baptism and church service yesterday we had a large gathering of both Nathan and my extended families at our home. In usual fashion, it was a celebration and a true feast. We made two large meat and cheese trays for everyone to snack on while the main meal came together in the kitchen. I made sure I had a variety of meats, cheeses and crackers and the trays came together beautifully by my sister and cousin Scott’s wife Elizabeth. Nathan and his dad grilled bacon wrapped steaks on two grills. My grandma brought cooler with garden goodies to serve and helped mix up the lemonade. I made spinach salad and used my Grandma Nola’s homemade dressing recipe and her Cherry Coke Jello recipe also. In the upper Midwest, you cannot have a family meal after church with out a Jello salad. It is a staple. The only Jello I make is Grandma’s recipe. I know my friends in other parts of the country (and world) laugh at our heavy Jello eating in the Midwest. I am sure Martha Stewart does too. But we still enjoy our Jello.
Yes I had a alot of help with the meal. Gma Carol brought three pans of a potato bake plus butterhorn rolls and buns. Lori, a surgeon by trade, was perfect with the knife on the watermelon boat and helped chopped fruit. My mom brought homemade cake for Miss Anika that was made by our favorite cake baker, Linda, who lives near our family farm. She has been making cakes for family celebrations for decades. Both Carol and my mom brought their steak knives so we would have enough for the whole crew. I have been collecting my Christmas china so I can host the holiday events. At Christmas, I can host over thirty with plenty of china to use. But I still only have twelve settings of my wedding china and needed about thirty plates for yesterday. Christmas in September was not going to work. My mom decided this event would be a good time to start giving me her wedding china which complements our china beautifully. I was so excited by this gift and realize I am definitely getting old when I get excited about dishes. I used to think my mom was over the top with her china and dish collecting. And now I understand and love the same. We all ate on china and had enough steak knives. But I did draw the line on glasses and we drank from plastic cups.
There was a lot of Minnesota Vikings football excitement going on and plastic seemed most practical while the guys crowded around the basement television to watch the game. (I am actually on a few photos because Kirsti took ahold of the camera yesterday!) She got me on camera being bossy with plastic cups and Anika on my hip.
Anika has three sets of Godparents. She is truly loved. Our friends Casey and Nancy could not be there with us yesterday but they will hopefully meet their Goddaughter Anika soon. The other two sets of Godparents are my cousins Mark (above with his daughter Nevaeh) and Scott and their wives Sami and Elizabeth. All three couples are hugely important people in our lives. They all take the role of being a spiritual mentor and leader to Anika seriously and we are honored to have them be Godparents to our daughter. Mark and Scott’s mom, Joan (in above picture holding Anika) and their dad Don also came for the event. Joan is music director of the family. She is the one who organized the huge chorus of men who sang The Lord’s Prayer at our wedding three years ago. And yesterday she worked her magic again and got the men to practice together during a very busy time of fall harvest to sing a four part “Beautiful Savior” in church. It was perfect harmony. Auntie Lori played a gorgeous rendition of Brahm’s Lullaby on the piano during the offertory. Anika had quite the musical numbers for her baptism!
My brothers Joe and Robbie joined Hunter and created “the man cave” as they called it in the camper this weekend. Every bed and bedroom was full in the house and the camper was very useful to have going for the two extra beds and extra fridge space! Above you can see Grandpa Sonny and Hunter going through the buffet line yesterday. We always remind Hunter what a gift he has to be raised around so many grandparents, uncles and aunts plus have a tremoudously close relationship with great-grandparents.
Baptism has been a much debated topic with a few of my friends. So I feel I must try to concisely address this topic since I am blogging about our baby’s baptism. I am sure I may step on a few toes by my words. I will try to stay top line and not get too deep. And remember this is just my rambling opinion…with out the spell check button that I still cannot find on this updated template.
Whether to baptize later as an adult or hold baptism for your infant child gets many Christians fired up so I have debated and put much prayer and thought into it in past years.
In my lifetime I have belonged to two different Christian denominations. One baptizes infants and the other does baptism as a believer’s decision later in life. The church we are raising our family in today follows the tradition of infant baptism. We decided to honor and follow that for our children. Baptism is a holy and blessed time. However, my husband and I firmly believe our children still need to make the choice to be followers of Christ. My mother was baptized as an infant and my father was baptized at age nineteen. Both have tremendous faith and firm Christian beliefs. I have never thought baptism one way or the other was completely right or wrong. I do not think baptism is salvation. I do not think confirmation is salvation. By going through the motions, you are doing just that…going through the motions, following tradition or a ceremony but not living and believing. I believe you need to make a decision to be a Christian and how you live out your faith is far more important than when or where you are baptized in the faith. We can debate the finer points of Christian faith for the rest of our lives but the most important thing is that we have it.
A huge majority of my generation…that would be all of you in your 20’s and 30’s…are not going to church, not raising their children with any Christian upbringing or faith and not financially supporting our churches. Indeed a majority of my generation is leaving and setting aside the Christian foundation and truths that they were raised upon and choosing to say that whatever you believe is okay. Many are against church as an institution. It breaks my heart to see this all happening and scares me for our future. So whether you choose to baptize your infant or instead have a baby dedication ceremony at your church is irrelevant in the big picture. Eternal life is the big picture. And what we need to do SOMETHING about that for our children. Like our parents did for us. And if your parents or a mentor in your life did not raise you in the strong Christian faith like my husband and I were raised in, change your family’s trend. You can be the change. Do not make excuses because guess what? There is not a perfect church. There is not a perfect pastor. There is not a perfect denomination. But I hope you believe. Believe and teach your children. Anika’s baptism reaffirmed my faith. Having all of our family surround us, lifting up our child in prayer was a day I will never forget.
Thanks be to God.