Children love to celebrate Jesus’ birthday at Christmas. And they love to celebrate their birthdays, the day they were physically born. Equally important is helping them treasure their Baptism birthdays, the day they were spiritually born as God’s children, and reminding them of all the blessings they receive from being in His family. Here are twelve traditions you can start with that goal in mind.
- Mark your child’s Baptism birthday on your family calendar. Highlight that it is a special day, the day your child was born into God’s family of faith in Jesus.
- Have a special meal. Celebrations often happen around food. Hold your Baptism celebration at lunch or dinnertime. If you have an “I am special” plate, serve your child’s dinner or dessert on it.
- Let your child help light their Baptism candle. Talk about what happened when your child was baptized. Say the Invocation together, reminding your child that he or she was baptized in the name of the triune God. Tell your child that when we say these words, in church or by ourselves, we are remembering that God has made us His children. Nothing can separate us from His love in Jesus. Ask, I wonder . . . how does God show He loves you? Let your child express his or her faith.
- Sing a Baptism song. One of my favorites goes to the tune of “Jesus Loves Me”: “I was baptized, happy day! All my sins were washed away. God looked down on me and smiled. I became His own dear child. Yes, Jesus loves me; yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. My Baptism tells me so.” (Stanza text © 1949 CPH.)
- Take out your child’s Baptism mementos. Your child will love looking at the pictures from that day or touching the special baptismal clothes that look so little now. As you look at these together, tell your child what happened when he or she was baptized. Point out that he or she has grown bigger since that day. He or she has also grown stronger as God’s child. Use your catechism or the baptismal book your pastor might have given you to prepare for your child’s Baptism to refresh your memory on how God makes us His children through Baptism, forgives our sins, and gives us eternal life for Jesus’ sake.
- Show your child his or her baptismal banner or certificate. Search the meaning of your child’s name online. Talk about what your child’s name means and why you chose it. Read Isaiah 43:1, inserting your child’s name: [God says,] “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called [child’s name] by name, you are Mine.” Remind your child that God called him or her by name in Baptism, granting your child all the blessings and benefits of heaven now and in eternity.
- Look at pictures from your child's baptism. As you look at the pictures of that day, point out your child’s sponsors and the pastor. Help your child learn to value those who encourage them in the faith by making a thank-you card or two to send to some of these people.
- Make Baptism treats: cupcakes or cross-shaped sugar cookies. Let your child help frost the cupcakes or cookies. Older children might enjoy making a cake in the shape of a lamb or a cross and decorating it. Or make simple treats with crackers and pressurized cheese in a can. Let your child draw crosses on the crackers with the cheese as a reminder of his or her Baptism.
- Celebrate with a gift---a Jesus story book for little children; a wall cross or cross necklace, or a children’s Bible or Bible dictionary for older ones. Talk about the newness of the gift, how it is clean and shiny new. Tell your child that God washes away our sin and makes us shiny new through Baptism. Need gift ideas? Check some out here.
- Make a list of charities or missionaries to support. On your child’s Baptism birthday, have him or her choose one to whom you will send a donation. Pray together for the charity and the work it does to care for the human needs of people or share the Gospel with those who do not know Jesus as their Savior.
- Set out shell soaps in your bathroom as another visual reminder of how Baptism washes away our sins.
- Take a "cross walk" around your house or neighborhood looking for crosses on Bibles, walls, in window frames, or sidewalk cracks! How many can you find?
You don’t need to do all of these things, but do consider doing something to help your child learn the importance of his or her Baptism. And don’t get discouraged. Sometimes the things we do to nurture faith aren’t as appreciated at the time by our children as much as we hope they will be, but they do yield results in time. So don’t abandon your efforts---they yield eternal rewards! While you might not “get what you want” in every baptismal celebration, you definitely get what you need---a reminder of God’s love and mercy and forgiveness in Jesus that is given to us through Baptism. And being reminded of that is something we need every day of our lives.