27 December 2008

An anniversary

I awoke this morning and my first thought was of the date: December 27th. I was baptised at the Presbyterian Church in Milford Michigan at the age of four months and two days on this date 55 years ago.

Since my priesting I've always told families, parents and godparents in particular, to make as big a deal over the baptism anniversary of the child in question as they do birthdays, baptism being a rebirth and a day the faith was claimed officially for the child. My own observance of December 27th, also the feast of St John, is quiet, generally private, and sweetly fraught with memories of the people now gone who were likely present for the event. I've not thought about it before; I wonder if any photographs were made that day ...

During the day I spent time with the widower of a lovely former parishioner who died unexpectedly on Christmas morning. He and their two adult children are still in shock but able to talk about the details of the service we will have on Monday. (I have been given permission by both the diocesan archdeacon and the bishop to officiate the burial.) During my visit they also told me several dear stories of their beloved wife and mother.

One of the details I learned is that the marriage had reached its 55th anniversary a mere three days before Christmas. So, we -- that long-married couple and I -- have the number 55 in common. That's a connection all of us agreed we like.

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